Monday, October 23, 2006

Could this Save the World....of Warcraft

Can Video Games Change How People Think?

I was reading the NY Times this summer and I saw an article about socially conscious video games and whether they can make a difference. The question was whether or not the video game industry has matured enough that they could present a subject like the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in a serious and probing matter like other forms of entertainment have been able to do.

Well from what I have seen so far from this game Peacemaker, I believe they could. Peacemaker is a political simulation that deals with the Middle East Conflict. A player can either choose to be either the Israeli Prime Minister or President of the Palestinian Authority. Once they choose sides they must attempt to secure the region and promote peace. The game has realistic actions and responses and can help explain to people a very complicated situation in an active and interesting way.

So. Can video games change the world? I don't know, but what I do know is I can't wait to see.


Anonymous said...

I am glad to know that video game companies are beginning to think about other alternatives than violent games. Peacemaker sounds like a good start towards a more positive direction with educating our kids correctly. I am not quite sure what makes kids want to blow cars up or shoot people, because I was used to jumping on mushrooms, and dropping through tubes in Super Mario Brothers. I don't know about you, but that was entertaining enough for me as a kid. I am wondering if the same number of video games would still be sold today if violent games were never invented. I believe kids would not have known the difference and would have continued playing Paperboy and Track & Field. I am not sure that a little kid who was only exposed to playing Duck Hunt would think that the game would be more interesting if he could use an AK-47 to shoot the police and gang members, and then rape and kill a prostitute for more health. The video game industry needs to hold more responsibility for its effect on kids. It may be impossible to start the trend backwards, away from violent games at this point.

--Kristy G

thisisnotathens said...

I agree. One thing though, the raping and killing a prostitute for more health is a common example, but you DONT HAVE TO have sex with, kill, or take the money from the prostitute.

Elle said...

On the website, I watched the trailer which explained a little bit about the creation and testing of the vidoe game. In fact, this game was tested by students at Carnegie Mellon Unitersity in PA and also at a University in Quatar. The trailer noted that the students enjoyed reversing their roles. There were some which said that it helped them to understand the political actions which were taking place in the Middle East. It seems to me that this video game has taken a step towards increasing tolerance. Now that players can take the role of the "other," they can begin to see the sometimes hidden dymanics behind a conflict. I think that this is a very important step for the video game industry. I don't think that "peaceful" games will become mainstream anytime soon, but even if they only reach a few hundred students, that is enough. As one of the creaters stated, "There are so many video games about war and destruction, there is certainly room for one little game about peace."