Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Activists develop computer games as a fun way to inform the public

As a person who grew up with video games, I still enjoy games where I take on a persona and go around fighting evil, whatever it might be. I played Super Mario, for the N64, until I actually broke my game console and my dad had to fix it (which, honestly, he had to fix quite often over the years). There is something meaningful about playing a game and ultimately being the hero.

Never did I think that it would also be a way to help activists bring life to the problems that they see around the world.

An article in FLYP magazine brought activist gaming to my attention; people are developing computer games that put the player into real-life situations happening all over the world.

Among the many games is one called Darfur is Dying, where the player becomes a person from a village in Darfur who has to get water, grow food and ultimately survive while being targeted by the militia who is targeting them. Not only is it a game, which is actually pretty fun, but it also gives facts about what happens to the people who live in the villages and even ways for us to help.

Another one is from a company called Global Conflicts , which produces what they call serious games. One game is called Global Conflict: Palestine.

To be a reporter covering the Palestinian/Israeli conflict must be very difficult, but to give every-day people the opportunity to see what that must be like is invaluable.

While it may seem weird to get your news from games, in a way it makes a lot of sense. Games capture people's attention and puts them into scenarios they otherwise wouldn't be close to. In some ways, it may seem as though it trivializes the news aspect by allowing people to play it in a game. But as long as there is a news and informational aspect to it, is no different than vanquishing Bowser in Super Mario. There is an evil and if we are able to learn about it and how to defeat it through games, maybe we will feel empowered to do something about it in the real world.

When trying to be an activist, you need other people to care about what you're doing too. By putting them into the game, they can see what other people are going through. Then empower them with information on how they can help and what they can do. Arming people with knowledge is important, especially if you can open their eyes to the problem. Activist games might not change the world too much, but it is definitely one other way that people with specific passion can relate to the video gamer.

blog comments powered by Disqus