Cross Roads is a youth-made interactive visual novel that helps folks flex their
anti-discrimination noticing, naming and responding muscles.
Cross Roads follows four teenagers in a friend group who are discovering biases
and gaps in knowledge in their daily lives and relationships: from anti-Indigenous
and anti-Black racism to classism, and transphobia. Players follow each
character’s path, see different scenes play out in different ways, and cultivate
their ‘Active Witnessing’ capacities in the process.
Key Game Elements
Reflective Promptsto help players link the scenes they see to their own lived experience.Pop-up Definitionsthat put anti-oppression concepts into story-based context.Alphabetized Glossaryof terms in one easy to access spot.A Learning Zoneframework to help chart learning and growth.
Cross Roads features the voices of BC-based high school students.
Esther Grindley ‘Naydta’
The main goal of the game is to assist teachers and students (grades 5-12)
in delving into creative and critical reflection work that:
Increases understanding of:
- inherited biases/prejudices in everyday life
- intersectional equity principles/practices
- ‘active witnessing’ responsiveness
Builds capacity to:
- notice, name and respond to discriminatory situations
- have and hold courageous conversations about racism and other intersecting inequities.
Cross Roads is currently in the BETA phase and we’d love to get your input.
Feel free to fill out whichever feedback form is right for you!
Minnie is a front-end web developer who was born in Taipei, Taiwan and moved to the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Wauttuh Nations when she was 2 years old. She graduated from BCIT’s front-end web developer program in 2021 and since then, has enjoyed coding applications that make an impact on people’s lives in one way or another. In her spare time, she enjoys discovering new coffee shops and restaurants around the city and spending time with her dog, Milo. Feel free to check out her portfolio at https://www.minnietsai.com
Ivy Edad is a Filipinx writer born in Manila, Philippines. In 2014, they moved to the stolen territories of Katie, Semiahmoo, Kwantlen, Kwikwetlem, Qayqayt, ans Tsawwassen First Nations. Ivy has performed on stages across Canada as “ruthless” including the finals of Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in 2019 as part of Kwantlen Poetry Project. Their work can be found in pulpMAG, For Women Who Roar, and various other publications.
Giselle Vriesen – Core Writing Team
Giselle Vriesen is a young adult author and illustrator based on Vancouver Island Canada. She is also the co-creator of the Anti-Racism Course for Educators. Link to course: https://anti-racism-course-for-educators.teachable.com/ Instagram @gisellevriesen
Emma Drumheller – Assistant Developer
Alannah Rose Johnson – Graphic Artist
Luci So – Graphic Artist
Chinese-Filipino Graphic Artist from the Philippines. Graduated with a major in Communication Arts. Started playing video games from a young age and has pursued a career creating video games with compelling narrative. Firmly believes in the power of a good story with enticing visual design.
Angela Ma Brown – Educational Consultant
Angela is a first-generation Chinese occupier (uninvited person) on the unceded (stolen/unsurrendered), shared and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil Waututh), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations. Through the lenses of creativity, compassion and critical thinking, Angela consults, coaches and collaborates with community organizations and school communities to develop programs and curricular documents to address the complex issues of racism, discrimination and oppression and to support equitable, inclusive and anti-racist policies, procedures and practices. Angela has been teaching at the Vancouver School Board for 23 years. She held the Anti-racism and Diversity Consultant position for 7 years and was seconded to SFU as a Faculty Associate for 3 years to mentor student teachers in the Indigenous Perspectives Teacher Education Module. She is currently a District Mentor supporting early career teachers in Vancouver. Angela holds an undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology from UBC and a Master’s degree in Diversity in Curriculum and Instruction from SFU.
Preeti Dhaliwal – Additional Writing Support
Preeti Kaur Dhaliwal (she/her) is a critical race feminist, writer, lawyer, educator and facilitator who grew up on the traditional territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt, Tsawwassen and Musqueam First Nations (also known as Surrey and North Delta, BC). With over 20 years of facilitation and teaching experience, Preeti is committed to arts-based methodologies as a source of personal and collective empowerment, transformation and community-building. She has taught creative writing at Guelph-Humber College, led arts-based workshops across Canada and the US in various institutions (including universities, law faculties, women’s spaces and youth centers), and firmly believes that stories change the world by altering our ways of seeing, feeling and being with one another. In her academic career (BA, LLB, BCL, LLM, MFA), Preeti has combined law, theatre, performance art and creative writing, and received over two dozen awards, most recently the DF Forster Medal. In her legal career, she worked at a boutique litigation firm and clerked at the Federal Court of Canada before pursuing a Master of Laws and eventually a Master of Fine Arts. You can learn more about Preeti, her publications and her writing workshops here.
Sara Kendall – Additional Writing Support
Red Buffalo Nova Weipert – Videographer & Sound Editor
Red Buffalo Nova Weipert (he/him/they/them) is an Anishinaabe Ojibwe Two-Spirit and transgender interdisciplinary artist, writer, director, educator and storyteller. Nova is a proud enrolled member of the Pinaymootang First Nation located in Treaty 2 territory, and is a recent graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. As an interdisciplinary artist, they weave together a multiplicity of digital and traditional mediums such as video, photography, sound, illustration, beading, performance, and storytelling in exploring/experimenting with new modes of representation through the lens of their Anishinaabe Ojibwe lived and felt experiences. They are a long time collaborator and film mentor with Access to Media Education Society, and their work has screened at festivals such as imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (2021) and Vancouver Queer Film Festival (2022). As an educator/storyteller, they take pride in sharing their journey, knowledge and teachings to all ages, and they currently work as a sessional professor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Visit www.5upernova.com for more!
Kathleen Flaherty – Voice Acting Coach & Dramaturgy
Kathleen Flaherty is a dramaturg, audio producer and theatre director who recently turned over the duties of Dramaturg at Playwrights Theatre Centre to fresher eyes and ears. Kathleen’s dramaturgical underpinnings include an MFA in directing, a childhood moving from one small prairie town to another, each with its own historical ties to a different European culture, and twenty years as a radio producer, steeped in aural art. Kathleen is grateful to live and work on the unceded ancestral territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations where the history of the land and the wisdom of land and sea are generously offered to anyone who asks. Or, if you prefer, you can use this one for the “official” bio. Dramaturg, playwriting auntie, audio artist, closet intellectual, curious dreamer, occasional activist, reader of many many books, theatre maker since early 1970s. Selfishly, the best things for me about CrossRoads were working with the amazing Deblekha Guin again and meeting a new generation of talented dedicated socially aware artists.
Heather Kelley – Educational Consultant
Charles Bates – Additional Sound Editor
Charlie is a multimedia artist, surfer, traveller, and socio-political researcher. He lives in search of meaning and justice in this big blue world; Creating, building, and storytelling at every chance, for a local and global purpose. Catch more of his work at charliebate.squarespace.com
Soft Chaos – Jess & Squinky & Allison
Soft Chaos is a worker-owned game design cooperative that creates critically-engaged, intimate, vulnerable, and unique interactive experiences, co-founded by Allison Kyran Cole, Jess Rowan Marcotte, and D. Squinkifer. Their work includes experimental videogames, tabletop games, larps, art installations, and interactive performances. For more information on Soft Chaos’s projects and client work, please visit https://softchaos.games/
“I wish I had this game when I was in school.”
Preeti DhaliwalCore Writing Team
“Meaningful anti-oppression resources like Cross Roads help to deepen critical conversations in
classrooms…and strengthen the knowledge bases that teachers and students hold around the
dense and complex issues of injustice, discrimination and oppression.”
Angela Ma BrownEducational Consultant/Ms. Richards
“Cross Roads is a game that takes care to share with you, instead of talking at you. The effort the
team put into telling genuine stories that meet the player where they are is evident. From
character design to narrative, every decision helps create moments for players to engage with
the intersectional nature of power, privilege, and microaggressions.”
“I really hope this game will help people understand what life is like from other people’s racial
and sexual identity-based perspectives enough to facilitate empathy, active listening, and
inclusion every day.”
Giselle VriesenCore Writing Team
“I’m glad to be part of a project that provides the chance for everyone to learn and grow into
their most ideal versions of themselves.”
Luci SoGraphic Artist (backgrounds)
“Being part of Crossroads has allowed me to be vulnerable and share a part of myself. I think that
demonstrates AMES mission of engaging and providing marginalized youth with a voice
through art and media.”
Uy Pham HoangActor
“I hope this game can be used as a stepping stone for people to improve their knowledge of
different cultures and ideals because that’s the first step to creating a better future.”
“I’m thankful for the terminology feature in the game, as I see words used in day-to-day
conversations and posts but I never quite grasped their meanings.”
Emma DrumhellerCoding Mentor