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October 02, 2007

Comments on Self Empowerment and Games

For those who want to feel self empowered, here is a link to my Scratch project: http://scratch.mit.edu/galleries/view/6114

Feel free to empower yourself further by adding to my gallery. Certainly, becoming a creator will make one feel empowered. As the initial creator, I may feel an even greater power. However, perhaps by allowing others to add to and/or edit my gallery, I relinquish some of this initial power. And yet I am still credited with a type of ownership, just as any writer or artist "owns" his or her work even though the work may be cited and used by others at a later time.

In regards to the games "Darfur is Dying," "Stop Disasters!" and "Food Force" (all available online), my reaction is mixed. I understand the desire to inform people about Darfur, natural disasters, and food scarcity. However, should we make games out of such serious dilemmas? In "Darfur is Dying," for example, the player must hide in a refugee camp, save a girl from rape, search for scarce water sources, etc. Although these are all real problems for many Darfur refugees, I wonder how they might feel having their lives turned into a game? Might it be slightly demeaning to have one's daily life be played by another person? The same questions arise when we play games to stop natural disasters. Should we not be taking such action in the "real world," rather than make a game out of the situation?

And yet I do understand that some people are uninformed of the situation in Darfur or natural disasters, and these games might inform them. But they might also trivialize the situation. Perhaps some sort of disclaimer should go along with these games saying that THEY ARE A REALITY.

Posted by leslieph at October 2, 2007 07:44 PM

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