Popular Video Game Allows You to Save the World from Starvation

Popular Video Game Allows You to Save the World from Starvation


Many video game makers seem to believe that all gamers want is more violence and gore in their games. This may not be the case. The most popular free download since last spring is not a gun-toting, car-stealing, cop-killing game, but rather Food Force, the UN’s emergency food operations game.

“We are the antithesis of the plethora of violent games that dominate the market,” Justin Roche, the game’s project manager, told Wired News. “Not one shot is fired, yet we are competing for kids’ time often devoted to shoot’em-ups.”

The game was created after the success of the U.S. Army’s recruitment game, America’s Army. “We became more interested in a downloadable after we saw how prepared kids were to download the large America’s Army file at over 200 MB,” said Roche. “We come in at 230 MB, which is slightly small than the first America’s Army.”

The game is made up of six stages, each one built around a certain aspect of the emergency food program’s operations. The entire game takes about thirty minutes to play. The downloadable files will run instantly on a PC with a Pentium II processor or Mac.

The game is even being used in schools. Julie Shannon, a teacher at Patria Mirabal School in New York City, has built an entire lesson plan around the game.

“Video games is a language that kids speak universally, so I never hesitated to try it,” commented Shannon. “I know that technology is an important tool in the learning process, and also felt that the world hunger crisis needs attention. Our students are mainly Latin American and Dominican, and many are here because of the very issues that Food Force highlights.”

“The familiar technology, the action and music, and the interactive elements are all very important pieces of the kids’ interest,” she explained. “But I also think that the subject matter grabs them. They are at an age where they are looking at an judging everything around them. Somehow tragedy and disaster spark their interest. It’s human interest, I suppose.”

“We have many e-mails from children, saying that they would like to come and work for us when they are older. It’s wonderful to think that our little game is having this kind-of impact,” Roche concluded.

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