Missing Food – serious game

Serious game for La Vanguardia Newspaper

Join an African farmer family and make decisions to save as much food as possible

Hanifa and her loved ones struggle every year to prevent food-loss. Join them and try to make the most out of their resources, in order to finish the season in the best shape possible.

Missing Food is a serious game for La Vanguardia, a well-known and respected Spanish newspaper. Missing Food is an interactive experience that reflects on African farming, shedding some light on the reasons why almost 30% of crops gets lost throughout the production cycle. The newspaper has conducted a journalistic effort to come up with “a data-driven and cross-border investigation about the post-harvest loss in Sub-Saharan Africa”. The full news coverage can be found here: http://reportajes.lavanguardia.com/missing-food/

We developed an interactive story in which you become Hanifa, a farmer and mother that will need to make tough decisions to reach the end of the season protecting as much production as possible. Participants will experience first-hand their life in the field, where they will live the premise of the game: Preventing food from getting lost is not easy.



Hanifa is an African farmer, in charge of the field and the family. There are two additional characters in her family: Momed, her husband and Shakil, their son. The three of them become stakeholders, and their conversations drive the user to make decisions, based on their circumstances. To reflect how decisions are tough, each character would usually represent opposing points of view, in the light of how the decision will impact each of the main variables.



Game mechanics

We created three variables that the participant needs to consider when making decisions:

  • Missing food (percentage)
  • Money (in dollars)
  • Wellbeing (percentage)

The story revolves then around decision points along the seasonal phases. We divided this phases into five: Cultivation, Harvest, Transport, Storage and Distribution.

Each decision point presents a dilemma, with a maximum of four choices, that has an impact on all three variables. This way there are no correct decisions, keeping it as lifelike as possible. For example, the user needs to choose among an irrigation system, the construction of a well or to do nothing regarding water. While choosing “irrigation” might have a positive impact on the missing food percentage, it is expensive to build and it will decrement your money variable. If we chose to do nothing, your wellbeing would be affected since we need to carry water ourselves from a distant location. All decisions have a consequence and user need to make decisions taking all variables into account.


In order not to clutter the feed with information and factual insights about each decision point, we created an additional feed: the cooperative. There, users can go and request more information, which taps into the journalistic findings and provides with more context to make a sound choice.