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SGS Feature: 'Peace Games & International Efforts'

Today's main feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source, which deals with games created for training, ...
Today's main feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source, which deals with games created for training, health, government, military, educational and other uses, concerns a panel discussion on games for peace at the 2006 Games For Change Conference. In this extract, which was taken from a presentation at the event, writer Sande Chen examines how the use of virtual worlds as a way of breaking down barriers between cultures has become an important tool in games aimed at bringing people together in peace: “Thomas and Joshua Fouts, Director of the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy, hit upon the idea of using virtual worlds for cultural exchange when they noticed that cultural barriers seemed to melt away in a virtual world. When asked, Europeans would say, “Americans aren’t so bad if you play with them.” Instead, the players had identities as gamers. Nationalities didn’t matter. Thus, the Public Diplomacy in Virtual Worlds project began. Like summers abroad, MMOG’s can provide transformational experiences in which international and intercultural exchanges can happen. The Reinventing Public Diplomacy Through Games Competition sought to find computer games that pushed forward these ideals. Of the winners, three were located within the MMOG, Second Life, from the San Francisco-based company Linden Labs. The awards ceremony was actually simulcast in Second Life, where the USC Center on Public Diplomacy has created Annenberg Island.” You can now read the full Serious Games Source feature on the subject, including more insight from the panel, as well as specific examples of games created for peace (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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