Serious games and peacebuilding

Noted with interest the Serious Games entry in Wikipedia, which defines a serious games as:

“… computer and video games that are intended to not only entertain users, but have additional purposes such as education and training. They can be similar to educational games, but are primarily focused on an audience outside of primary or secondary education. Serious games can be of any genre and many of them can be considered a kind of edutainment, but the main goal of a serious game is not to entertain, though the potential of games to engage is often an important aspect of the choice to use games as a teaching tool. A serious game is usually a simulation which has the look and feel of a game, but is actually a simulation of real-world events or processes. The main goal of a serious game is usually to train or educate users, though it may have other purposes, such as marketing or advertisement, while giving them an enjoyable experience. The fact that serious games are meant to be entertaining encourages re-use. While the largest users of SGs are the US government and medical professionals, other commercial sectors are beginning to see the benefits of such simulations and are actively seeking development of these types of tools.”

Going through the page, I observed the lack of a single serious game for peacebuilding and the abudance of military strategy games such as Real War, Full Spectrum Warrior and America’s Army. Desperately needed on this list are more games along the lines of what I’ve written about before in this blog, such as A Force More Powerful and the Climate Game.

Serious games are also envisaged as part of the Peace Tools suite of applications championed by the Nobel Peace Laureates Foundation.

Also noteworthy is the Serious Games Initiative, which has some details of the development of serious games for peacebuilding here.

Some related posts:
Technologies of Play: Video Games and Gender
PC games and peacebuilding
Online Violence : Take 2
Darfur is Dying : Using games for political activism

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