Monday, November 26, 2007

Can Computer Games bring Peace to the Middle East?

The Associated Press reports today that the Peres Center will distribute 100,000 copies of the game "Peacemaker" to Palestinians and Israelis on Tuesday, in tandem with the Annapolis summit.

According to the ImpactGames Peacemaker blog:

Approximately 75,000 copies will be sent to subscribers of the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz on November 27, with 10,000 copies of the game distributed through the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds. An additional 15,000 copies of PeaceMaker will be distributed to Palestinian and Israeli high school classrooms and taught by specially trained teachers in the coming months.

I've been meaning to write about this game for some time. The game allows you to play the role of either the Israeli Prime Minister or the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority. To win the game, you have to lead your people to a two-state solution, while coping with "Palestinian suicide bombers, Israeli attacks in the West Bank and Gaza, hawkish Israeli groups, Palestinian militants and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Palestinian refugee camps."

You can download a free demo that lets you play for ten turns -- and let me say, having played the demo several months ago, staying in power for even this long is a challenge! The full game is $19.95 for Mac and PC, and can be played in Arabic, English, and Hebrew.

Although it would seem like a no-brainer to use this one with our junior high or high school programs, I admit that I still haven't brought this one to Emanu-El (the interface is just slightly complex, and it requires quite a bit of time to play). If you've had any experiences using this with your students, please share them here!

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