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Darfur Is Dying Serious Game Gets 'Mixed Reviews'

A Washington Post article by Jose Antonio Vargas reprinted on The Daily News website has discussed public reaction to the <a href="http://www.seriousgamessource.com/item....

Simon Carless, Blogger

May 16, 2006

2 Min Read

A Washington Post article by Jose Antonio Vargas reprinted on The Daily News website has discussed public reaction to the recently launched MTVu-winning political activism game Darfur Is Dying, citing several negative reactions to the concept of game espousing political views. The title, which was launched at the "Save Darfur: Rally to Stop Genocide" event in Washington, DC, was was developed by Susana Ruiz, Ashley York, Mike Stein, Noah Keating and Kellee Santiago of the University of Southern California. Darfur is Dying is a narrative-based simulation where the user, from the perspective of a displaced Darfurian, negotiates forces that threaten the survival of his or her refugee camp. Interestingly, some of those interviewed during the launch in Washington D.C. earlier in the month expressed skepticism: "John Keenan, 15, a freshman at George School, a Quaker boarding school in Newtown, Pa. Keenan said: "I'm a gamer, but I don't know how I really feel about making a game out of what's going on. I mean, I don't think you can get a real experience of being a Darfurian refugee by playing a game on the computer."" In addition, Loren Berlin, 28, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina commented to the Washington Post: "I'm not a gamer, but I know that having a game about Darfur reaches out to lots of young people out there who are clueless about what's going on. But on the other hand, in this age when so much information is on the Internet, do we really need a game -- a game -- to remind people that something so terrible is happening in the Sudan?" The full news story about the reaction to Darfur Is Dying can be found on The Daily News' website, and the full article, which seems to have entirely interviewed those against the concept of the game, is available on the Washington Post website. [Editor's Note: As an interesting point of reference, I was previously interviewed by Jose Antonio Vargas for a December 2005 game-related story which felt similarly editorially skewed, albeit against Joseph Lieberman's gaming legislation. At the time, I was unhappy that he used the story to make an editorial point, paraphrasing me strangely along the way.]

About the Author(s)

Simon Carless


Simon Carless is the founder of the GameDiscoverCo agency and creator of the popular GameDiscoverCo game discoverability newsletter. He consults with a number of PC/console publishers and developers, and was previously most known for his role helping to shape the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Conference for many years.

He is also an investor and advisor to UK indie game publisher No More Robots (Descenders, Hypnospace Outlaw), a previous publisher and editor-in-chief at both Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine, and sits on the board of the Video Game History Foundation.

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