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Fatimah's Busy Day • 2017 rpg finalist


The youngest player is Fatimah.  

Others play her anthropomorphic burqa, Amir.  

Fatimah is running errands before going on a trip.  

Using the prompts below as guidelines, play out scenes from Fatimah’s day.

[Open-Air Market], [Alleyways]

Fatimah’s world is blue-tinted, because Amir is blue, but Amir can see its true colors.  Amir, describe these to her as she travels, highlighting details that her screened saccades miss.  

[Open-Air Market], [Alleyways], [Mosque]

Fatimah’s world is dangerous, because people are desperate and violent, but Amir protects her from harm.  Amir, tell how you turn away gazes, camouflage her movements, and render her invisible to potential bad actors.  

[House], [Graveyard], [Alleyways]

Fatimah’s friends and family are in turmoil, because the world is bleak.  They are upset that she is going away.  They grasp at Fatimah.  Amir, tell Fatimah how they feel, but be mindful of her feelings, too.

Whenever Amir speaks, everyone talks all at once.  Through the noise, Fatimah chooses which narratives to silence, one by one, by saying “Hush...” and the speaker’s name.  The remaining narrative(s) become what is real.  When ready, Fatimah can silence everyone—and just exist—before ending the scene.

End play when Fatimah leaves for her trip.

Author Comments

Inspired by Hayao Miyazaki, the Quran, and life in general.

Judge Comments

Beautiful set-up for a game: “anthropomorphic burqa” is a masterclass in domesticating something that has been mistrusted, and perhaps demonised, by certain forms of Western discourse. The phenomenology of what Fatimah sees and hears and chooses is great too and I love the dramatization of the relationship between Fatimah’s inner world and her outer reality. I also admire the way the author has put the larger truths front and centre without being heavy-handed. I did wonder if everyone taking part should get a go at playing Fatimah, as some of the truth of those experiences may more evident to the person playing Fatimah than to everyone else. - Abstract Machine

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