Friday, 23 November 2007
Darfur Digital Activists
This game has been rattling around in my thoughts for about a week as a potential high school or middle school social studies tool. I am both intrigued and disturbed by it. Darfur is Dying is an online game created by students from USC as part of a competition sponsored by Reebok Human Rights Foudation and the International Crisis Group. The player of the game uses an avatar of a Sudanese man, woman or child in a refugee camp and helps to keep the camp running and safe from attack. You must also forage for water and navigate the desert with your avatar in search of a well, but you must hide from the approaching Janjaweed soldiers while doing so. Even simply as a player, I was feeling anxious as I tried to hide behind rocks to avoid capture (the game even tells you the horrific things that happen to women and children once they are captured, which is why this is not an elementary game). With students sitting at desks thousands of miles away from something as tragic as the Darfur crisis, I see this as a fantastic tool for evoking empathy in a way that reading about it many times cannot do.