STOCKTON — In the library at the University of the Pacific, seven students are working on a video game that takes you to a different time.
It’s not ancient Rome or Paris in the 20’s. It’s Stockton in the 1940’s. Little Manila, to be exact.
“At one time, Little Manila had the largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines in the world,” digital curator Joshua Salyers said.
Thanks to a $15,000 grant from California Humanities, Salyers was able to work with the students for five weeks to make this virtual recreation as realistic as possible.
“Creating this exhibit and making sure the public can experience some aspect of this history is really important,” Salyers said. “It’s an important part of history.”
But how do you go about recreating 1940’s Stockton without actually being there? Lot’s of research.
The team focused on the intersection of El Dorado Street and Lafayette Street, where Little Manila once stood.
“It’s tough but it’s so much fun,” senior Keely Canniff said. “I love going into work every day.”
The project is immersive. From the history lessons to the cars to the buildings, a lot of detail went into it.
But there is a sad truth to what happened to Little Manila. Once Highway 4 was built, Filipinos largely moved out of the neighborhood and settled in Lodi and Tracy. What once was a cafe is now a McDonald’s. The whole neighborhood looks different.
“It makes me really sad to see that there was this community that had this vibrant section of the city all to themselves that they built, only to have it destroyed like other cities that have seen communities destroyed by eminent domain,” senior Andrew Johnson told FOX40.
The class worked with the Filipino American National Historical Society to make sure they had everything historically accurate, enough so that someone who actually lived in Little Manila can vouch on the project.