Friday, April 27, 2007

Education Through Gaming

A while back I wrote an entry called the 'Wikipedia of Gaming' where I talked about divergent political views being communicated through videogames and how I thought this was a good thing for our industry.

This morning on Next-Generation I saw this article entitled: "Understanding Conflict Through Games" which focuses on a new title being released by Serious Games called "Global Conflicts: Palestine".

I really want to try this game. From the NG article it sounds like the developers recognize the importance of Fun when trying to use games as a vehicle to educate without necessarily compromising on the actual merit of the title as a vehicle to challenge the player intellectually. Too often when I read about 'serious games' I get the feeling that they are so focused on the high-brow that they risk losing our on the potential of the medium to engage, or compromise too much and that the actual 'learning' elements are surface layer at best.

I also like the fact that this game seems to mirror an important reality of the world -- that in many cases, both sides of any conflict worth fighting over have grievances that deserve recognition and can rationalize (if not justify) said party's stance. There is no 'right and wrong' in the Israel-Palestinian crisis and the game seems to do a good job of reinforcing this by making 'staying neutral' the hardest objective to achieve.

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