An interesting short article in the LA Times about serious games led me to mtvu which is fantastic MTV portal aimed at university students. You can read the article by clicking here (free registration required)
I’ll get back to serious games later – because they were feature on the portal – but what a step up from College Radio this is mtvu is a rich web service where radio is just the portal soundtrack which then opens to the college newspaper, video, music and creative challenges offering prizes for innovative work in the emerging media space. Well worth checking out to see how MTV (at least in the US) are staying ahead of the game and keeping their brand alive with one of their core demographics.
While college kids on the whole might be hedonistic and looking for entertainment the serious game Darfur caters to those with more worthy inclinations.The game is really just another offering on a great niche portal and offers another way in for charity organisations to increase awareness of the famine in Sudan by putting game players in the place of an everyday Darfur refugee.
While the game is simple and doesn’t really have the depth to engage a player for a long period, you get a strong message that water is scarce in the camp, corruption and violence are rife and that there is a need for aid $ to help rectify a desperate situation. For me it was more like an advergame which you see virally spread through email more and more these days but it got a strong message across. You can play the game by clicking here.
The other serious game mentioned in the LA Times story is more sophisticated in that it has multiple levels and sim-like qualities to predict how government decisions will impact climate change over a ten year period and beyond. It’s also made by that formidable producer of content linear and interactive, the BBC. The player is put in the hot seat playing the part of a European President and the challenge is to come up with the right mix of policy to reduce greenhouse emissions. You can play the game by clicking here.