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The Mechanic is the Message captures and expresses difficult experiences through the medium of a game. Much like photographs, paintings, literature and music are capable of transmitting the full range of the human experience from one human to another, so too can games. Due to their interactivity, the installation suggests that games are capable of a higher form of communication, one which actively engages the participant and makes them a part of the experience rather than a passive observer.

The Mechanic is the Message is composed of six separate non-digital games that experiment with the traditional notion of the word “game”.

  • The New World, 2008
  • Síochán leat (aka “The Irish Game”), 2009
  • Train, 2009
  • Mexican Kitchen Workers – in prototype
  • Cité Soleil – in concepting
  • One Falls for Each of Us – in concepting

Brenda Brathwaite is the designer of these games. Inquiries may be directed to the game designer at her full name at


The New World, 2008

Game Designer: Brenda Brathwaite
Release Date: February 2008

  • Testing: Maezza Brathwaite

Train, 2009

Game Designer: Brenda Brathwaite
Release Date: April 29, 2009

  • Design Confidante and Sounding Board: Ian Schreiber
  • Testing: Christopher Schmidt, Michelle Menard, Laura Beukema, Ian Schreiber, Darren Malley, Tyler Hawley
  • Thanks to: Ian Schreiber, John Sharp, Ian Bogost, John Romero, David Dirlam, Rabbi Belzer, Steve Meretzky, David Fox, Dan Cook, Jason Rohrer


Síochán Leat (aka The Irish Game)

Game Designer: Brenda Brathwaite
Release Date: June 8, 2009

  • Testing: Ian Brathwaite, Ian Schreiber, Christopher Schmidt, David McDonough
  • Thanks to: Paddy Donovan, Michael Collins, Ian Schreiber, Ian Brathwaite, John Sharp, John Romero, Ian Currie, Connor Scott, Anne Dirlam, David Dirlam, Dominique Elliot
13 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2010 4:36 pm

    Train is one of the most inspirational things I have ever seen. I have started to think about game design in a totally new light after watching the GDC video of it. I also think an interesting extension of The New Wold would be to see how people might play with and react to using the slaves that they got to the new world in a reconstruction of slavery. In other words using the people they brought over as slaves given the parameters to make money through cash crops. Just an idea.

    • November 12, 2010 6:35 pm

      Thank you!

    • James Blair permalink
      December 1, 2010 7:35 pm

      Sounds a bit like Puerto Rico, in which you bring over ‘colonists’ to do just that.

  2. christopher permalink
    April 29, 2012 10:16 pm

    any hints on being able to get a hold of the New World game? I am not coming up with very much through a net search….

    • May 3, 2012 7:25 pm

      There is only edition of each game. I generally encourage educators to work with children to make games about difficult topics to help them broaden their understanding of these things while simultaneously working on a game which they love.

  3. Chris permalink
    May 3, 2012 3:47 pm

    Ms. Braithwaite,

    I just learned about Train via a TED talk you gave last year. Are any of the games in your Mechanic series currently touring as installations at any museums? I’d be very interested in studying the impact of these games on unsuspecting patrons.

  4. May 6, 2012 4:23 pm

    Sorry, I’m confused – is this an art installation, using board games?

    • July 6, 2012 6:24 pm

      It is a board game, but there is only one of them in existence. It is not an art installation.

  5. Kathrin permalink
    May 10, 2012 1:09 pm

    I also have just watched the TED talk and was browsing around here to find out if the “New World” was on sale here. But of course you are right, Brenda, in saying that (re)creating these games with students might have an even bigger impact.
    I teach German students in English, so slavery is of course an issue in my classes. But I will definitely point my history collegues to your talk and may contact you via email to find out more about the “Train” game.
    Thanks for sharing and inspiring!
    Best regards,

    • July 6, 2012 6:22 pm

      Thank you Kathrin! Feel free to contact me about the games in the future.

  6. Tonya F. permalink
    May 14, 2012 5:09 pm

    Hi Ms. Braithwaite,
    I’m very interested in The New World game. Where can I purchase it?

    • July 6, 2012 6:21 pm

      The game is unfortunately not available for purchase. All of these games are one-of-a-kind games.


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