Video Games Get Serious

New breed of politically minded computer titles seek to educate players, foster activism
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2007 2:40 PM CDT
Online virtual Tokyo "meet-me" is demonstrated at Japanese digital marketing company Transcosmos Inc. in Tokyo, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007. Kunimasa Hamaoka of Transcosmos, who oversees the "meet-me," says...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – One game is set in the Guantanamo Bay prison camp; another invites players  to oversee famine relief efforts on a fictional island; a third game, called "Darfur is Dying," pits refugees against militias. These three are part of a new trend: serious computer games that aim to raise the political awareness of players, Der Spiegel reports.

Serious computer games remain a relatively small niche market, but the genre is expanding rapidly. Computer programmers, political science professors, and NGOs work together on the games, which target both schools and private customers. While some games in the genre get their message across effectively, critics say others are too preachy and wooden to capture the attention of players.