Port(land) of Opportunity

2018 - 2019

Illustrated houses, trees, and roads connected through a rainbow

Port(land) of Opportunity is an educational game designed for immigrants and refugees in Portland, Maine to help them explore and access available services in the city. Players take on the role of newcomers navigating real city services to achieve their goals, earning points by acquiring essential skills and resources. 

About the Project

App display on iPhones

Problem Space

Port(land) of Opportunity is a game for immigrants and refugees living in Portland, Maine to learn about services available to them in Portland. The Office of Economic Opportunity wanted to try stepping away from more conventional approaches of seeking community feedback (such as interviews and focus groups, as they have used in the past) and instead created an educational game in hopes of making the process more engaging and meaningful to participants.

Proposed Intervention

In the game, the player takes on the role of an immigrant or refugee who has just arrived in Portland and now must discover and navigate the city’s services in order to reach their goals. All of the locations and services within the game are real and offer a variety of opportunities to players - if they have the right skills and resources. Points are earned by gaining a mix of skills (English proficiency, job training, and community engagement) as well as two distinct ‘power-ups’ (learning public transportation and getting a job). Players begin with a limited amount of two key resources, time and money, which they must spend strategically in order to progress. The game is playable on desktop or mobile devices.

Social Impact

The game ends with a survey for players to provide feedback to the city government on how to better serve immigrants and refugees. The game is designed to reflect Portland’s existing services and opportunities, so that players may critically evaluate Portland’s services in the survey and through facilitated discussions by organizations that use the game. The OEO will use game and survey data to better understand immigrants’ experiences, identify gaps in Portland’s resources, and inform budgeting decisions for the City of Portland.


Logo image for City of Portland Office of Economic Opportunity

Project Contact

For inquiries about this project, please contact eric_gordon@emerson.edu.