THIRTEEN productions and WNET will debut Prisoner in My Homeland, the sixth role-playing game in the award-winning Mission US series online on Sept. 14. This latest installment in the free interactive educational series gives middle and high school students the chance to see life through the eyes of a Japanese American teenager during World War II as they encounter diverse perspectives, witness key events and make difficult choices in a scenario from this pivotal, difficult moment in history.
Students are asked to step into the role of Henry Tanaka, a 16-year-old Japanese American boy whose family is forced to leave their home on Bainbridge Island, Washington, for a prison camp in Manzanar, California. Players must make decisions that reflect broader strategies of survival and resistance: will they help their community, focus on family, support the war effort, resist injustice?
The Mission US team collaborated closely with humanities advisors and members of the Japanese American community to develop the online game. Densho, a digital archive that preserves oral histories and other primary source materials on the incarceration, consulted on content development for the game and its supporting educator curriculum guide. An advisory board of leading scholars and researchers of the history of the incarceration guided development of the game’s historical content.
“My hope is that this new Mission US game gives players a more nuanced understanding of the past, while offering educators a valuable, easily accessible tool for deepening history learning both in the classroom and at home,” said Sandra Sheppard, Executive-in-Charge of Mission US and WNET Director of Kids’ Media and Education.
As of June 1st of this year, Mission US games have been played by 3 million registered users, including 98,000 teachers, in all 50 states. The Mission US website includes six games and comprehensive companion classroom guides that include document-based history activities, primary sources, vocabulary builders, standards alignments, writing prompts, visual aids and professional development videos. The website also includes tips for parents and educators seeking to use Mission US as a resource for at-home history learning.
Other Mission US games include For Crown or Colony?, which puts players in the role of a 14-year-old printer’s apprentice in 1770 Boston; Flight to Freedom, which follows the journey of a 14-year-old enslaved young woman who escapes to the North in 1848; A Cheyenne Odyssey, in which players get a window into the life of Little Fox, a fictional member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe during the westward expansion in 1866; City of Immigrants, in which players, as 14-year-old Russian Jewish immigrant Lena Brodsky, find their way in 1907 New York City; and Up from the Dust, where players step into the shoes of Ginny and Frank, 14-year-old twins struggling to help save their family farm in Texas during the Great Depression.
Mission US is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC in association with WNET. Sandra Sheppard, is executive-in charge. Jill Peters is executive producer. Michelle Chen is senior producer.
Here is the trailer for this informative and educational experience: https://youtu.be/CsoHxi6GTw8
You can experience the game here: https://www.mission-us.org/games/prisoner-in-my-homeland/