Games for Change
Have you ever played
World of Warcraft or Counter-Strike? For many, playing video games is a favorite
pastime. Parents worry that these games may be too violent and may negatively
affect their children. However, a group of video game creators believe that
video games can help educate people about real-world tragedies. These video game
designers and other humanitarians recently met in New York City for the 3rd
annual Games for Change conference.
Although there is violence in the games that these humanitarians create,
the violence reflected is caused by real-life situations such as racism or war.
For example, in the game Darfur is Dying, the player takes on the role of a
Sudanese refugee traveling to a well to get water while avoiding the deadly
militia terrorizing the country. This game sheds light on the bloody civil war
being played out in Sudan. Darfur is Dying has been downloaded more than 750,000
times and continues to grow in popularity. Another game tackling real-world
problems is PeaceMaker. In this adventure game, players can choose to be either
the Israeli Prime Minister or the Palestinian President. The object of this game
is to promote a peaceful resolution for the volatile situation between Israel
In only two years, attendance at the Games for Change conference has
grown from 40 activists in attendance in 2004 to 250 this year. These
humanitarians are excited to use this form of media to spread awareness of
problems in the world. Through their games, they create hope for a better future
and a better world.