Humanitarian Video Game Surprise Hit with One Million Players
Launched by the United Nations last summer, the first video game designed to teach children about global hunger has surpassed all expectations in the gaming world by reaching more than three million players in 40 countries.
Surprisingly, the game, “Food Force,” released by the UN World Food Programme features no guns and no aliens. Instead, kids race against time to feed thousands of people on the fictitious island of Sheylan, alongside a team of emergency aid workers.
They pilot helicopters while looking out for hungry people, negotiate with armed rebels blocking a food convoy, and use food aid to help rebuild communities.
“Finally! An educational game that rocks!” comments Watercoolergames.com. Along the way, gamers learn about the real world where over 800 million people are plagued by hunger each day.
Available as a free download in MAC and PC formats through a dedicated website where information on global hunger can also be found, the world’s first humanitarian video game contains six different missions aimed at children 8-13 years old. Evidence of the response to the game includes thousands of comments posted on the site along with highest scores.
As of today, “manchild85 (JWH)” of the United States leads with a high score of 60,000,000 points.
According to John Powell, WFP Deputy Executive Director, the game is reaching 40 countries even though it is currently available in English only. Powell is looking for partners to help translate the game into other languages.
The WFP is also focusing on free distribution in schools around the world, backed by Yahoo! and Internet2, a Washington-based high-speed educational network. In addition, the game is supported by a community web site which includes lesson packs on world hunger in seven languages provided by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization