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5 Games Against Poverty and Hunger

by Jeff Cobb

Blog Action Day Logo

The following five free serious games are selected from among the various serious games I have written about here before on Mission to Learn. I offer them up as part of Blog Action Day, which this year is focused on the issue of poverty. As I’ve written about in Playing for Change, I am increasingly of the opinion that games can be great learning tools and catalysts for change. Play the games, share the games, and spread the word about Blog Action Day.

Ayiti: The Cost of Life
“What is it like to live in poverty, struggling every day to stay healthy, keep out of debt, and get educated? Find out now in this challenging role playing game created by the High School students in Global Kids with the game developers at Gamelab, in which you take responsibility for a family of five in rural Haiti.” From UNICEF with Microsoft support.

3rd World Farmer
“3rd World Farmer … aims at simulating the real-world mechanisms that cause and sustain poverty in 3rd World countries. In the game, the player gets to manage an African farm, and is soon confronted with the often difficult choices that poverty and conflict necessitate. We find this kind of experience efficient at making the issues relevant to people, because players tend to invests their hopes in a game character whose fate depends on him. We aim at making the player “experience” the injustices, rather than being told about them, so as to stimulate a deeper and more personal reflection on the topics.”

Go Goat Go
“Get a goat to help you grow more food! They eat weeds, their milk is magic and plants love their poo…” Just one of a number of games featuring Christian Aid’s Global Gang.

Heifer Village: Nepal
“In this village a few are prosperous, but most struggle with hunger and poverty. You are Esha, a young girl who belongs to a poor family. Your mother Sabitri’s dearest wish is to somehow acquire a goat. A goat would provide your family with milk and the means of making money, which would allow you to go to school.” From Heifer International.

Karma Tycoon
Karma Tycoon “rocks the gaming world by offering you a thrilling ride through the world of social entrepreneurship as you earn Karma in virtual communities across the US.” Developed by Teachers curriculum available.

Jeff Cobb
Mission to Learn

posted on October 15, 2008

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