Artist Statement
Operation Kanshi by Amanda Siswojo & Emperatriz Ung
Artist Statement as submitted to the Faculty of the NYU Game Center of New York University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Game Design
Operation Kanshi is a 2D story-driven game trapped between a multitude of worlds and perspectives. The year is November 1949. Set in the fictional country of Mihong in Southeast Asia, Operation Kanshi acknowledges the legacy of generational trauma that persists in post-colonial Asia.
At the heart of the game’s narrative are difficult choices and uncertainty in the aftermath of a civil war. The player assumes a morally ambiguous role as an Intel Operative for the Ministry of Order and Stability. In the world of Operation Kanshi, there is no right or wrong, only existing as best as one can during a time of political duress.
This game exists as an exercise in designing a narrative about the Asian and Asian American diaspora. Our audience is primarily people who have personally experienced, or have family who have experienced, political unrest, as well as people who have studied post-colonial Asia. Challenges we faced during the development of this game led us to ask ourselves: How can we make a game succeed in conveying a conflict to Western audiences and playtesters unfamiliar with the historical and cultural nuances of Asia? How can we design this game without betraying those historical and cultural nuances?
We pushed to collaborate with other Asians and Asian Americans. A shared vision drove us to create this experience based in a part of the world we don’t see represented. We feel it is important that this game exists. And we are grateful to everyone who helped us arrive at this current iteration of Operation Kanshi.
“Writers from a minority, write as if you are the majority. Do not explain. Do not cater. Do not translate. Do not apologize. Assume everyone knows what you are talking about, as the majority does. Write with all the privileges of the majority, but with the humility of a minority.” -Viet Thanh Nguyen