content warning: this game contains descriptions of sexual violence
A Thousand Cuts is a provocative, thoughtful, texting game created by writer and game designer Elizabeth Ballou. The full version of A Thousand Cuts is still in production and this "early edition" version was a winning entry in the 13th Annual Life.Love. Game Design Challenge presented by the nonprofit charity Jennifer Ann's Group®.
About A Thousand Cuts: Early Edition
A Thousand Cuts: Early Edition explores how campus culture impacts a pair of university students, Rosa and Olivia, going through their school's Title IX process after they realize they've been assaulted by the same man. This narrative-driven game was praised by the judges of the game design challenge for its "great story" and "excellent writing." One judge admitted: "This was an emotional ride, and I got a little nervous during parts of it ..."
This early edition of A Thousand Cuts allows the player to safely experience the Title IX process and see how Rosa, Olivia, and their friends are affected. The full version of A Thousand Cuts will provide players with even more choices, such as options to report the assaults to the police or to the media. This early edition has been modified in a few, minor ways (including bug-fixing, accessibility fixes, and cultural consulting) from the version of the game that was submitted for the game design challenge.
We encourage you to follow the development of A Thousand Cuts so that you can play the completed version as soon as it becomes available.
"A Thousand Cuts is a game about finding justice for on-campus sexual assault. When two students realize they've been assaulted by the same person, they connect over text messages. As Rosa, pick and choose your responses to a cast of characters who each play a role in holding Duane accountable - or not.
I started working on this game in a very different form in my first year of grad school, in 2018. It's grown slowly since then, but I was starting to worry that I'd never finish it in my spare time. Being chosen as a finalist for the 2020 Life.Love. Game Design challenge was the kick in the pants I needed to build an entire branch of the game (with the help of Rowan Wood, who rewrote my nonsense code, and Tea-Powered Games/Alina Constantin, who provided UI design prototypes and art). There are still two more storylines I want to implement, but I am incredibly grateful to Jennifer Ann's Group for believing in the concept behind A Thousand Cuts.
Campus sexual assault is far more complex than it's often made out to be in headlines. The intersection of Title IX stipulations, the legal system, and a school's interest in protecting itself all make for a justice process that's shrouded in secrecy and hesitation. My hope is that my game might place players within this process, so that players understand the individuals caught in the center of it."
- Elizabeth Ballou, Creator of A Thousand Cuts
Designed, Written, and Developed
Jennifer Ann's Group
Life Love Publishing
Full credits are available in the game and at
A Thousand Cuts website.
A Thousand Cuts is based on the stories of many students who have filed sexual misconduct claims. It is not representative of a single instance, university, or group of people.
Resources & More Info
For information about Title IX and consent, helpline numbers, and other resources please visit A-Thousand-Cuts.com.
Gaming Against Violence recognized as Top-50 Innovator
The nonprofit program that produced this game was selected as a 2022 Classy Awards Finalist for its innovative approach to violence prevention through games. Learn more about the Gaming Against Violence program.
About The Life.Love. Game Design Challenge
The Life.Love. Game Design Challenge is presented by Jennifer Ann's Group's Gaming Against Violence program. This award-winning and evidence-based program explores some of the ways that prosocial games can be used for prevention of intimate partner violence (IPV). Since 2008 the program has supported the work of artists, authors, and game designers around the world who develop creative, intentionally designed, non-violent works. The games are published by Life Love Publishing, a subsidiary of Jennifer Ann's Group.
A Thousand Cuts is an award-winning game from the 2020 Life.Love. Game Design Challenge. The themes for each year vary and the theme for the 2020 competition was CULTURE. Game designers, developers, and writers were challenged to create a non-violent video game. All games were intentionally designed to allow game players to examine, explore, and evaluate the role and impact of culture on attitudes and beliefs about dating relationships, especially regarding those impacts to adolescents and young adults. Through A Thousand Cuts, Ballou encourages players to critically examine, among other things, campus culture and some of the many ways it can affect university students.
About Jennifer Ann's Group
Jennifer Ann's Group is a nonprofit charity. Their primary focus is teen dating violence prevention. Through their Gaming Against Violence program they have produced more than sixty prosocial games since 2008. Game topics include bystander awareness, consent, healthy relationships, and teen dating violence prevention.
This award-winning approach to violence prevention is evidence-based and the games are available for use in university studies. Universities, reseachers, and research centers: Please contact Jennifer Ann's Group to discuss possible grant collaborations, dissertation ideas, and research opportunities.
Jennifer Ann's Group was created in 2006. More information and additional free resources for teen dating violence prevention are available at JenniferAnn.org.
Donations support our work and are tax-deductible. You can easily donate online to support our efforts to prevent dating violence. For more information or to donate by check visit JenniferAnn.org.
Jennifer Ann's Group® is a registered trademark of
The Jennifer Ann Crecente Memorial Group, Inc.