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Public awareness/Mobilization and... Serious Games

Video games or even role plays, serious games belong to the category of educational and social games.

They are often used to get public awareness regarding social issues, that is why they are called Serious. That new kind of games appeals to me for various reasons:

  • they are free

  • they are ludic

  • they offer more possibilities than tutorials

Getting something for free is one of the fastest way to have a game made public. The fact that they are attractive is helpful too: people happen to understand quickier and invest themselves in the game in a more dynamic way.

Tutorials are often synonymous with theoretical training or at least software training courses only. A tutorial is mainly a sequence of screens along with written explanations. Screens that have been replaced today by videos showing every detailed handling. It is also more interactive: the user according to his/her clicking gets different sequences. Years ago I happened to develop such tutorials for a quizz. Take my word : it takes much time!

As to the way a practical knowledge (other than that of a software) is transmitted, a tutorial is certainly not the best thing. Yet for some time now Web sites are trying to respond such needs mostly through diaporamas and quizz. Slides will change from one session to another according to the user's answers. This is a fair idea besides. But not so good an idea as to get the user come along several times! In elearning courses, serious games are a good option.

Here are some serious games:

http://www.stopdisastersgame.org/: the aim is to get younger children understand that a few precautious actions in the field of rural and city building for one can help minimizing natural disasters. The game was created by the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), a UN program that campaigns on "Disaster Risk Reduction Begins at School". There are 5 stories : tsunami, hurricane, earthquake, forest fire, flood, 5 continents... and you! The very first try is not easy... you don't always understand where to go, but after a while it is simple.

http://www.3rdworldfarmer.com/: the aim here is to get public awareness on the difficult situation of Third World farmers. Danish students from Copenhagen created the game. In the idea of a strategy game, you develop your agricultural farm in the specific area of Third World countries.

http://www.food-force.com/: the aim here is to explain how food aid and humanitarian aid are managed, for instance following armed conflicts. The French version was launched by the UN World Food Program (UNWFP) and made possible for free by Ubisoft. Youngsters from 8 to 14 can choose between 6 missions : air surveillance, air drop, energy pacs, locate and dispatch, food run, future farming.

http://www.darfurisdying.com: the aim here is to describe the situation and the dangers encountered by refugees in the Darfur conflict. Students created the game following a contest organized by the Reebok Human Rights Foundation and the International Crisis Group along. This is real daily life of the refugees. Gruesome and tough, that is.

Publication Date: 2007-04-27

Tag: Serious-Games

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On 2010-09-25, SeriousGamer: Hey, nice post!
I don't know the links yet. Thank you! So I have something to try out for today.

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