July 2nd, 2006

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.

From DarfurThesis:

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.

My Soundtrack: Don’t Let Your Man Know by Graham Coxon on WOXY.

5 Responses to “DARFUR IS DYING: THE GAME…”

  1. Jill says:

    Thanks for posting about this, Jeff. Incredible what people can do. What I really liked about the story of how the game was created is that the person who created it (well, one of the team members) was already working on something to convey a global issue via gaming. Thank you, thank you, thank you to her and her parents and everyone who has supported her (and the others who contribued). I always grimaced when people with lots of law school debt would say, I can’t take a public interest law job, but I really would like to if they pay more. Same thing here: you can make a difference if you want to. Period. I’m not perfect – I don’t always make the choices I probably should. But at least I’m thinking about it, and feel a good smack of guilt that hopefully helps me do better next time.

  2. Jeff Hess says:

    Shalom Jill,

    That’s true. You’re absolutely right.



  3. Jay McGinley says:


    Contact me:

    Day #6 Hunger Strike; Day #57 Vigil at White House 22 hrs/day


  4. Jeff Hess says:

    Shalom Jay,

    I’ve added links to you in my Darfur section.



  5. […] How appropriate it is that in the Darfur Is Dying game the player’s first task is to collect water. […]

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