Peacemaker is a new video game about the conflict in the Middle East that let’s players assume the roles of either the Israeli prime minister or Palestinian president. It sparks empathy for the other side among college students who are testing the game in tandem with Carnegie Mellon University, and developers. Arab and Jewish students discover that bringing peace to the region is tricky, takes time and tact, and sometimes many failed attempts…
The advantage of using games to teach about world crises, is that they convey complex situations, and are catalysts for understanding. The players can start to view the world from the “other guy’s” perspective as they are reminded of the difficulties of both sides face. Sign up on the Peacemaker website to receive updates about the game’s future release date and pricing.
Gaming as an act of social awareness, and the use of the term Smart Games, is catching on, enough to spawn a recent conference on the subject.
In February, GNN featured Hunger Force, a wildly popular UN game that 4 million people have downloaded for free. Players gain an appreciation for the plight of the world’s hungy, especially the problem of delivering food aid to people in war zones.
In Darfur is Dying, an oline game release by MTV’S college channel, players can enter an “action” area of the game ”political action, that is” where they can send e-mail messages to politicians and demand action on Darfur. (Read more in the NY Times)