Via She Who Writes Like She Talks comes this: MTVU, along with the The Reebok Human Rights Foundation and the International Crisis Group, has launched Darfur Is Dying, a narrative-based simulation that puts the player in the role of a Darfurian. It is easy to dismiss a game based on the genocide in Darfur, but this is no Pac Man.
Implementing what we term multiplayer online game activism, we hope to facilitate an immediate call to action — a way to engage a wide spectrum of young people and students to take notice of the crisis in Darfur, the first time in history that the United States government has declared an on-going crime as genocide.
Creating gameplay that informs as well as motivates effective and swift real-world action is a grand and elusive goal. The process of discerning appropriate representational aesthetics as well as appropriate interactive mechanics and metaphors has proven to be very difficult. We are aware of the stakes of such an endeavor — purporting to faithfully convey the real suffering of the Darfuri people — and as such, we do not feel that we have reached a solution, rather that we are immersed in a rigorous work-in-progress.
It beats the feck out of playing solitare or Quake 3.