“First prize: not dying”

My buddy Josh (no, not me, another Josh) pointed me to this game that was submitted to the MTV-sponsored program Darfur Digital Activist. It’s a Flash-based game in which you are a kid in Darfur trying to dodge the janjaweed (the Arab militia responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of black Sudanese in Darfur) on your way to the well.

An article in the Village Voice calls it a “dark little perversion of the human imagination.”

I thought it might be too, until I played it. I think it’s attempting to create empathy in its audience, which is undoubtedly comprised of young, well-off North Americans and Europeans. Rather benumbing them with list a bunch of numbers and facts, maybe kids will respond to the language of gaming.

I sure did. I felt a twinge of terror upon being caught again and again by the janjaweed. The experience of gaming lets in a difference side of the tragedy, and it might just move people to pay attention to this badly neglected issue.
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