Concept, development, directing: Fanni K. Fazakas
Visuals: Zara Maria Olsson
CLIENT :: NYU TISCH ITP
“Jamie & Jamie” is an exploration of gender dynamics through transforming a traditional shooting game in VR into a mission to complete a domestic task. Two players are armed with an iron against a flying barrage of dirty clothes and must work together to get the house in order.
“Jamie & Jamie” is a whimsical, multiplayer VR game based on stories collected from a wide range of New Yorkers about their personal experiences of gender roles, pay gap and domestic work. The game invites people of all genders to do laundry together in a bizarre virtual setting. Subverting the typical shooting game format, participants are instead armed with an iron as a “gun”, and clothes as their “targets”. The game itself is rigged to allocate more points for one of the players, ultimately encouraging collaboration in order to complete the challenge.
I grew up in Budapest, Hungary where everyone I know in their 20’s, including myself, is married. I am, by Hungarian standards, considered quite lucky for having a “progressive” husband who shares household duties equally with me. In fact, my childhood was also unique in that I grew up in a family where my mother worked and my father took on the bulk of homemaking and childcare duties. Yet, even in the privilege of my own relatively equal marriage and upbringing, the issues around feminism and gender dynamics is a difficult conversation to be had.
I decided to focus on domestic chores, and specifically the task of ironing because to me, it is a concrete representation of gender dynamics within relationships and behind closed doors. Through conducting interviews in Washington Square Park with over 50 people, I realized that the topic of ironing naturally brought into question gender roles around the task.
I investigated how and which technology would facilitate an experience that might encourage participation across all genders. Since video games are typically a familiar format for male players, I juxtaposed the medium with a historically feminine task in order to bring up a heavy subject in a playful way.
Through the multiplayer experience, I hope to spark inclusive conversations that affect both Eastern Europeans and New Yorkers alike and encourage participants to reconsider their own association and approach to everyday responsibilities.