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Catapharact
02-02-07, 14:25
Finally! Orginizations are giving games the credit for being the perfect medium towards the younger generation.

Though... why do I get the feeling this is gonna turn into another "America's Army" type recruting thing.


Serious Games: A new breed of video game is spreading the word about important global issues.

by World Vision

Source: http://lifestyle.sympatico.msn.ca/Serious+Games/Home/ContentPostingWV.aspx?isfa=1&newsitemid=40295081-d298-442c-9f7a-a94d820b6db1&feedname=WORLD_VISION_EN&show=False&number=0&showbyline=True&subtitle=&detect=&abc=abc

Video games are just mindless fun, right? While this may be the perception of many, there is a movement afoot that could change this view.

A new genre of video game, sometimes called "serious games" or "games for change," is a fascinating new development in the industry.

You won't find any cute, animated characters or voyages across space and time in a typical serious game. Instead, players are immersed in a realistic world, faced with all-too-real issues. Using familiar gaming concepts, these video games delve into challenging and controversial social-justice topics.

The following three games exemplify this new movement.

Global Conflicts: Palestine
Taking on the role of a young journalist, players of this game are exposed to social complexities as they move around Jerusalem. Solving conflicts along the way, gamers have the opportunity to take one of three viewpoints: pro-Palestinian, pro-Israeli or a balanced viewpoint.

Darfur is Dying
Living in and around a refugee camp in Sudan, players must avoid armed militia as they collect water and food while managing their basic needs within the camp. A staggering 800,000 people played this game in the five months after its 2006 release by MTV Networks.

Food Force
This game was developed in 2005 and is considered one of the granddaddies of the serious-game genre. In the game, players join a team of UN experts that deal with food shortage and related issues on the fictional island of Sheylan. Created by the United Nations World Food Programme, the game offers ways to learn about the fight for food sufficiency.

Making a Difference
Some have criticized these games, contending that they oversimplify complex issues and mask harsh realities faced by those involved. While these claims hold a grain of truth, it's hard to argue with the fact that the games do have an impact. Players, mostly young and receptive teens, are taking action.

MTV Networks reports that thousands of players have raised awareness of the situation in Sudan by sending Darfur is Dying to their friends. Other players have become advocates, pressuring politicians for changes in government policies.

So while lives are not being saved directly, video games can make a difference. These serious games, which create awareness and inspire action, are contributing to a solution to at least some of the world's problems.

dream raider
02-02-07, 14:56
Interesting... Can you post the official websites of these games?

Catapharact
02-02-07, 15:06
Just go the source website link that I have posted with the article :). At the end of the article, you'll find links to the websites of all the games mentioned above :).

Forwen
02-02-07, 15:22
I read about this genre about two years ago on gamestudies.com and haven't heard of them since. They must be having a slow start.

While making games portraying famine or any other humanity problem is a quite noble intention, I sure as hell don't trust those politics-based. Picking sides in Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires imo a bit more knowledge than your average man in the street (not that I'm not pessimistic about "picking sides" per se) has.

Catapharact
02-02-07, 15:30
Exactly. Though yes the option is avalibe for a middle front, the games obviously show a more leftest hidden agenda embedded in. I would find such games as tasteless as "America's Army."

However... Are they effective in recruiting personalle? You bet ya.

xMiSsCrOfTx
02-02-07, 15:37
Videogames contributing to the world? Who knew?!

Global Conflicts: Palestine
Taking on the role of a young journalist, players of this game are exposed to social complexities as they move around Jerusalem. Solving conflicts along the way, gamers have the opportunity to take one of three viewpoints: pro-Palestinian, pro-Israeli or a balanced viewpoint.

Darfur is Dying
Living in and around a refugee camp in Sudan, players must avoid armed militia as they collect water and food while managing their basic needs within the camp. A staggering 800,000 people played this game in the five months after its 2006 release by MTV Networks.

These two actually sound very interesting. Much different from anything so far. I mean, you've got SOCOM: US Navy Seals, and when I think of the games mentioned in the article, I think of games like that.. But I'm sure these will be totally different.

It is nice to see a change now that they're starting to make more serious games, but I agree with Forwen. Doing so in the manner they're describing in that article might bring about quite some controversy. I'll be keeping up with the progress of these games, it'll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Catapharact
02-02-07, 15:46
Oh I like the concept very much Misscroft :). No doubt about that; Its sort of a realistic twist on the moreclassic genere games (i.e. strategy, Simulation, etc.) with plenty of real world politics to keep any junkie hooked (even the forces in Halo the shooter were UNSC (United Nations Security Coucil) troops.)

I am just hoping this doesn't turn into another media backlash on games promoting hidden "oogy" agendas.

Forwen
02-02-07, 15:46
Still, it was to be expected that games one day would go "serious". The times of games being an elite entertainment are long over (since PS was introduced, if not much earlier) and they're now in their peak years of popularisation phase, so the times of game industry breaking into specialised branches aiming at specified customers can be already spotted. Happened to TV, happened to radio, heck - happened to literature, so games won't be different.

Megalith
02-02-07, 16:35
That would be very interesting if it happens,but i'm affraid it won't.
Let's face it,the majority of players want a game to have mindless fun(or shooting) and also to be some sort of escapism from the real world.
It would be a great risk for a publisher to give (a great amount of) money for something like that.And the video game industry isn't known for taking big risks.
Also,for this kind of games there's the issue of the games being trustworthy.For subjects like this there is no black and white,no good vs evil.

dream raider
02-02-07, 16:45
Yes Megalith I guess you're right. I prefer an adventure, mystery and magic if we want something "serious" or should I say educational we can play sims because sims isn't really serious.

irjudd
02-02-07, 18:47
Games about real world events or slight spins on history (every WWII game, every Nazi killing game) just bore me to death. I'll take blasting aliens and traveling through stark & arcadia any day.