Moving beyond 'Shoot 'Em Up'

By Gregory M. Lamb writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, December 22, 2005 | Go to article overview

Moving beyond 'Shoot 'Em Up'


Gregory M. Lamb writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


The situation is critical, and many lives are at stake. Success rides on the decisions you make. But in these video games, blasting your way out of trouble, guns blazing, isn't an option.

Instead, you must organize a peaceful protest against a dictator, shepherd supplies to hungry refugees, or lead "first responders" during a local catastrophe.

As the video-game market matures, these "serious games" are beginning to win advocates, who see them as great teaching tools, and grab the attention of large numbers of players.

"Food Force" is a free online game from the United Nations World Food Program that sends children ages 8 to 13 on six realistic aid missions. It's already been downloaded more than 2.5 million times. And the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. has founded the Serious Games Initiative to explore how key challenges facing governments and nonprofit groups can be addressed using game play.

"A lot of people are looking at [video] games because of their pervasiveness and because of their really unique capabilities for learning," says Suzanne Seggerman, co-founder of Games for Change, a two-year-old nonprofit that promotes games with a social conscience.

"It's a totally different style of teaching ... it's 'learn by doing,' " says Steve York, the senior producer at York-Zimmerman Inc., a documentary film company in Washington, D.C. Together with the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) and Breakaway Games Ltd., a video gamemaker, his company is producing "A Force More Powerful," in which players use peaceful means to unseat a dictator in 10 fictitious scenarios. The game will be released in February.

Backed by the ICNC, Mr. York's company already has produced two award-winning documentary films about nonviolent political change, including "Bringing Down a Dictator" (2002), which described the overthrow of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

"We discovered ... that a lot of people around the world were using our films for training purposes" in countries with oppressive governments, York says. By playing the video game, protesters learn what works and what doesn't, such as "if you try this tactic, you're going to get eight of your activists assassinated or thrown into prison by the regime," he says.

Serious games represent "a huge market" that shows no limits for growth, says Deb Tillett, president of Breakaway Games Ltd. in Hunt Valley, Md. "A Force More Powerful" and others like it represent about 50 percent of the projects now under development at her company, she says.

The United States military has led the way in the development of "serious games" or training simulations, Ms. Tillett says. While "World of Warcraft," the most popular online fantasy fighting game can boast 5 million players, "America's Army," made as a recruiting tool for the US Army, has more than 6.3 million online players and will shortly become available on home game systems.

"America's Army" allows players to "train," conduct missions, and be rewarded with promotions. While it was costly to develop, the military has been more than paid back by "the dollars it's saving in fewer washouts" because recruits know what they're getting into, Tillett says.

Another Breakaway project is "Free Dive," a scuba-diving simulator that's so involving that it has lessened the pain of gravely ill children who play it while undergoing medical treatment. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Moving beyond 'Shoot 'Em Up'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.