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UW student fights back against hate by creating video game

Chanhee Choi started work on her video game after being verbally attacked last year. #k5evening

SEATTLE — South Korean student Chanhee Choi has many talents. She's an interactive artist, teacher, and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington -- but her latest undertaking is one she wished she never had to start.

Back in 2020, Choi was verbally assaulted in Seattle by a racist man - yelling at her about being Chinese and being responsible for the coronavirus pandemic.

"I had some kind of personal incident which was quite shocked," recalled Choi. "I didn't know about the racism before the quarantine and the pandemic begin."

With xenophobia against Asians increasing, Choi decided to fight back the only way she knew how: by using her skills in digital arts to create a video game.

"As an artist way, I think it was the best way to try protest."

Credit: KING 5 Evening
UW student Chanhee Choi working in the Digital Arts & Experimental Media lab

Her game is called Pandemic, an art game where the player can experience different environments rather than earn points.

"I can put people in the game and they can decide how much farther they want to know about."

As you go through the levels, the background — and enemies — become more aggressive. Some of the elements Choi chose were taken from real-life events and social media.

"This video game is different. They have to be there and they have to choose where they want to go. I want people to choose to learn."

Credit: KING 5 Evening
Choi has been working on her game since 2020

Choi channeled her pain and anger into something creative. When the game comes out, she hopes it opens up people's minds and challenges them to level up.

"I'm making the game more for haters more than lovers."

Choi hopes to release her game for free later this summer.

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