Life: Immigration Game


Immigration tends to be viewed as an issue of undocumented workers where one either defends their plight, or accuses them of stealing jobs. According to the Migration Policy Institute, there were “42.4 million foreign born residents in the United States in 2014, of which 47 percent were naturalized U.S. citizens. The remaining 53 percent included lawful permanent residents, unauthorized immigrants (an estimated 11.4 million), and legal residents on temporary visas (such as students and temporary workers).” On the same website, it is stated that “In 2014, 29 percent of immigrants ages 25 and older had a bachelor's degree or higher” which is very comparable to the 30 percent of native-born adults.

The goal of the Game of Life, Immigration Edition, is to educate native-born Americans about what it is like to be an immigrant: what it is like to leave one's home, family, and cultural references behind, and come to a foreign place where not only language can be a barrier, but where xenophobia and fear of the unknown can alter relationships. The game tiles will be based on my own experience of coming to America: missing weddings, births and funerals because it is too expensive to travel; misunderstanding jokes and cultural references; having to put up with daily micro-aggressions such as one's co-workers and in-laws making stereotypical jokes of my country's food, language, and political past; having parents and family members disapprove of one's choice of friends, mates, professions, as one is becoming “Americanized”. I am also conducting informal interviews and talks with friends and strangers who have immigrated by a variety of means and for a variety of reasons, and will use their anecdotes as basis for replacement tiles. I want to show facets of being an immigrant that are not necessarily obvious, as well as some of the known and well documented hardships that are inherent to being a foreigner.

The game is not meant to be a new stand-alone game that can be a commercial venture. It is meant to be a subversive political artwork that reaches the American leisure class who may not be aware of immigration issues, and who may not be interested in those issues in the first place. The game wants to educate and record the average American's reactions to seeing the world through the eyes of an immigrant.

About the Artist

I work in mixed media, using feminine crafts such as crochet and lace with recycled plastic shopping bags, making large-scale installations and drawing on community-engagement. I am originally from France, having immigrated to the US in 1984 when I was 17. The move, which was supposed to be temporary, has informed my adult life and my choice of themes and materials in my artwork.

You can see my work at


I am currently looking to put the game into Game Cafes.
If you are interested in getting the game for your cafe, social club or school, please contact me at

About the 3D buildings

I worked as a digital artist in the 90's for the video game industry, so took advantage of the free/open source software Blender to make new models for the game. I used a wonderful 3D printing service, Auxetic, in Brooklyn, which I highly recommend if you need 3D printing. Christopher, who has been my contact there, has been so incredibly helpful and patient with me, as I learn about this new technology. Their contact is below: or email at