Saturday, March 24, 2007

Global Conflicts Palestine - Education or Propaganda?

Checkpoints, Suicide-Bombers, Curfews....
This is a new computer game called "Global Conflicts: Palestine", scheduled to be released this month or April by Serious Games Initiative.
The idea is, you are a young journalist working in Palestine/Jerusalem, navigating between chosen Israeli and Palestinian sources to get stories.
The player has the option of being pro-Palestinian, Pro-Israeli, or being Neutral. In actual fact, players gain more points by actually being Neutral when reporting their virtual stories.
And this is my beef with this little project....... Neutral??
It's very difficult from reading mainstream news sources to get to the bottom of the middle-east / Israeli / Palestinian situation. After all, some people don't understand that Israel has actually illegally occupied territories in the area, leading to death, destruction and major daily stress for all the peoples in the area.
So when a young gamer decides to visit this Virtual-Jerusalem, he is led to believe that being Neutral is the answer?
'Apathy and Indifference' is surely the mindset that will entail from this adventure, no?
The developers believe the game will reach out to young people in ways other formats don't, and help them to comprehend what life is actually like for all involved within the Occupied Territories.
They say young'uns aren't interested in politics, or watching the news, so games like this, and others... will help them to understand what is going on in the midde-east.
The company releasing this project is Washington and Copenhaged based, Serious Games Initiative (SGI). Their CEO Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen, has psychology experience, and has previously worked on "Game projects for major companies like Nike and Coca-Cola with a global outreach".
Yeah well we all know how friendly Nike and Coca-Cola are....
"The genre is about taking the resources of the games industry and applying them outside of entertainment" says Ben Sawyer, co-founder of Digitalmill Inc., and one of the organizers of the Serious Games Summit. This means creating games that play roles in areas such as education, health, public policy, science, government and corporate training, he says.
Ok so I'm a cynical person, but I can't help the overbearing feeling this is simply propaganda for a new age. Children, teachers and gamers beware.....


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