A group of indie developers has come together to raise more than $400,000 in donations for Palestinian aid. More than 800 creators submitted their games to the Indie bundle for Palestinian Aid on independent platform itch.io. The bundle is $5 for 1,019 games and experiences, and it’s raised $407,242 at the time of writing — with the number continuing to rise by the thousands.
A goal of $500,000 was set for the aid drive, and the bundle will go offline on June 11. Proceeds will be donated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which provides food assistance and protections for Palestinians. The aid is increasingly important as Palestinians continue to face a humanitarian crisis in Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank.
“Indie games are unique in that they can tell stories not seen in AAA or other games,” organizers said on the itch.io page. “We pour our life experiences into our games and share a piece of ourselves with the world. Palestinian game developers are no different in this aspect, but have the added challenges of limited access to basic services, like clean water, electricity, medical care, and food security. They live under Israeli authority that discriminates and subjugates Palestinians to the point of persecution and apartheid, simply for being Palestinian. Furthermore, they develop games without all the resources that come with being in a western hub for game development.”
The bundle highlights Palestinian game developer Rasheed Abueideh, who released Liyla and the Shadows of War in 2016 — a game that explores the devastation of Gaza’s 2014 war.
“I’m a father of two kids, I can’t imagine my life without them, but in Palestine nobody is safe,” Abueideh said in the Liyla press kit. “When the war started in Gaza and i saw the images of the killed kids in their parents hands I was shocked, I had a weird feeling, it’s a combination of sadness, fear, empathy and anger, All what i was thinking of is ‘what if this happened to me.’”
He continued: “I have chosen to share those feelings in a game to deliver a message of how we are living as Palestinians under this situation. It’s Not Just a Game, It’s a case and call for help.”
The value of the bundle is clear — more than 1,000 games for just $5. In it, players will have access to titles like the aforementioned Liyla and the Shadows of War, as well as the Grindstone soundtrack, Minit, Signs of the Sojourner, Dear Poppy, Botolo, We Met in May, Lieve Oma, Hot Pot Panic, and hundreds more.