Monday, July 02, 2007

PeaceMaker: great educational game

Gaming is bad?
After all the discussions in the media about Manhunt 2 (see an article in USA Today) it is good to talk about all the strong and significant positive effects of games. It is a pity that media are not focussing on the game PeaceMaker. The first time a game really forced me to think about my own values and attitude was when I played September, 12th. This great game was developed after the terrorist attack in New York City and I used it a lot during presentations on game based learning because for me it shows the strong potential of educational games.

The same feeling was there when I played PeaceMaker. On their site you can read:

PeaceMaker challenges you to succeed as a leader where others have failed. Experience the joy of bringing peace to the Middle East or the agony of plunging the region into disaster. PeaceMaker will test your skills, assumptions and prior knowledge. Play it and you will never read the news the same way again.

Which president do you want to be?
It is true. For only 19,95$ you can be either a Palestinian or Israeli president trying to cope with the complex situation. You decisions are based on your knowledge and attitude. You can make different choices (although it is not really possible to behave in the worst and violent way when you are playing the Palestinian president). This game is very well developed. It is a straightforward game with basic but nice graphics. You don't realize it is quite simple while you are playing the game You are not running around in a 3D world but you don't miss it any moment. The designers used movement in a very subtle way. The game play is very well balanced (attractive and challenging). The interface is well designed, clean and simple. You just start playing without worrying about how to do it. You find out how to do it while playing. The real multi media footage is giving the game its urgency and realistic atmosphere. It pulls you into the game and it will get you some shivers as well.

Learning different things
While playing this game, you learn about the different issues like security, national and international partners, the national and international politics, about natural resources and many more. It puts you in the middle of the action. The feedback is well presented and is adding a lot of flavour to the game. The developers surely know how to use gaming principles.

PeaceMaker make you think about the complexity of the situation and it is great that you can play both sides. That forces you to look at it from different points of view. It will not only learn some new facts to you but probably will change your ideas and gives you a deep understanding of the conflict in his historical context. It will shake up you emotions as well. But, hey…that is a small price for learning this kind of lessons.

Get the demo or just buy the game at their website.

Watch the game play trailer:

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