The last few years have seen the blossoming of real world computer games that allow players to learn about important global issues. Here are a bunch of them. (If you know of others, please let us know so we can post them.)
is a unique, interactive life sim that enables you to live one of billions of lives in any country in the world. Through statistically accurate events, Real Lives brings to life different cultures, political systems, economic opportunities, personal decisions, health issues, family issues, schooling, jobs, religions, geography, war, peace, and more!
teaches about hunger and the global food situation by putting you in charge of an emergency food mission. Developed by the UN's World Food Programme.
is a nation simulation game. Build a nation and run it according to your own political ideals. Create a Utopian paradise for society's less fortunate or a totalitarian corporate police state. Care for your people or deliberately oppress them. Join the United Nations or remain a rogue state. It's up to you.
is a narrarive based simulation where the player, from the perspective of a displaaced Darfurian, negotiates forces that threaten the survival of his or her refugee camp. It offers a glimps of what it is like for the more than 2.5 million people who have been internally displaced by the crisis in Sudan.
A Force More Powerful
is a game of nonviolent strategy that allows the user to wage nonviolent struggles for freedom and rights against dictators, occupiers, authoritarians, and oppressive rule. Player takes on the role of strategist for a nonviolent movement.
Online and CD ROM games
Peace related games
A Force More Powerful http://www.aforcemorepowerful.org/game/
Nobel Peace Prize games http://nobelprize.org/educational_games/peace/
Virtual Peace http://www.virtualpeace.org/
Peace Corps game http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/educators/enrichment/wanzuzu/
Darfur is Dying http://www.darfurisdying.com/
Wildfire (collective social action): http://byimplication.com/
People Power— the game of civil resistance http://www.peoplepowergame.com/
War related games
BBC War Games http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/worldwarone/hq/games.shtml
Gulf War 2 http://www.idleworm.com/nws/2002/11/iraq2.shtml
Wild West Bank http://www.brand.co.il/unik/westbank/
Global Conflicts http://www.globalconflicts.eu/
Commander in Chief http://www.commander-in-chief.net/
Nation state/politics related games
Earth 2025 http://games.swirve.com/earth/
Sentient World http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/23/sentient_worlds/
Geo-Political simulator http://www.geopolitical-simulator.com/
International Futures http://www.ifs.du.edu/index.aspx
Budget Hero http://americanpublicmedia.publicradio.org/engage08/budgethero/
Redistricting Game http://www.redistrictinggame.org/
The Cat and the Coup (Iran coup) http://coup.peterbrinson.com/
Participatory Chinatown: http://www.participatorychinatown.org/
Environment related games
Mission H20 game: http://www.savewater.com.au/game
Water Cycle Game: http://apps.southeastwater.com.au/games/se-water-cycle.swf
Interactive game to find out how we rely on groundwater: http://url.edna.edu.au/8nBj
Interactive House to learn about saving water: http://url.edna.edu.au/rbU9
Creating your future environment: http://url.edna.edu.au/TSeS
Green Gaming http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.htm?programID=09-P13-00007&segmentID=8
Chesapeake Bay Watershed Sustainability Simulation Project http://www.virginia.edu/vpr/sustain/BayGame/
Climate change games
Lick Global Warming http://www.lickglobalwarming.org/game.cfm
Fate of the World http://www.fateoftheworld.net/about.html
C-Roads Climate simulation http://www.climateinteractive.org/simulations/C-ROADS/overview
Climate Change Game http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/hottopics/climatechange/climate_challenge/
CO2FX Global Warming Interactive http://www.globalwarminginteractive.com/
Energy related games
Energy in Motion wind power game: http://url.edna.edu.au/cZTm
Food related games
Profit Seed: http://tiltfactor.org/profitseed/wp-content/profitseed3.4/WindNewArt.fla
3rd World Farmer http://www.3rdworldfarmer.com/
Free Rice http://www.freerice.com/
Food Force http://www.food-force.com/
Food Force2 http://www.foodforce2.com/
Economics related games
Spent (living in US at poverty level) http://playspent.org/
Budget Europe: http://www.budgeteurope.eu/
Inside Haiti Disaster: http://www.insidedisaster.com/experience/Main.html
Stop Disasters—Disaster simulation form the UN: http://www.stopdisastersgame.org/en/home.html
Budget Puzzle—You Fix the Deficit: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-graphic.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=ab1
Poverty is Not a Game http://www.povertyisnotagame.com/?lang=en
The Curfew: http://www.thecurfewgame.com/
Breakthriugh to Cures: http://info.breakthroughstocures.org/
Admongo— ads are everywhere: http://www.admongo.gov/admongo.html
Hey Baby: http://www.heybabygame.com/info.php
Real Lives http://www.educationalsimulations.com/
Ayiti: The Cost of Life http://www.unicef.org/voy/explore/rights/explore_3142.html
NetWorld Game archive http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/week/100397netgame.html
Play to Learn http://www.serc.nl/play2learn/index.html
Stop Disasters http://www.stopdisastersgame.org/en/home.html
NY Philharmonic http://www.nyphilkids.org/games/main.phtml?
Business simulation http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/learning/business-evolution.cfm
CityOne— IBM sales game disguised as urban sim:
Collection of social action games http://www.supersmartgames.com/blogcategory/63/
Global Arcade http://www.globalarcade.org/games/index.html
Best for online learning games http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/04/21/the-best-websites-for-creating-online-learning-games/
36 Learning games to change the world http://www.missiontolearn.com/blog/2008/04/learning-games-for-change/
Cause related online games http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2009/03/15/the-best-cause-related-online-learning-games/
Game design feed http://pod.gscept.com/intro2gd2009.xml
Building simulations http://www.mysciencelife.org/
Social change games kit http://www.seriousgamessource.com/item.php?story=22060
Systems thinking software http://www.iseesystems.com/
Simulation platform- Microsoft http://www.microsoft.com/education/highered/whitepapers/simulation/SimulationPlatform.aspx Game deign innovations http://www.shapingtomorrow.com/nav-frameset.cfm?hl=http://www.edge-online.com/features/50-greatest-game-design-innovations
Creating educational games http://classtools.net/
Life Preservers http://lifepreservers.msu.edu/
Life Preservers is a video game that teaches National Science standards onevolution, adaptation, and the history of life on earth.
Alien Attack, Harvard University, Math and science literacy,
Big Fish - Little Fish, MIT, Predatory prey systems, http://education.mit.edu/pda/ifish.htm>
BioLogica, Concord Consortium, Genetics, http://biologica.concord.org/
Brainteasers and Puzzles, University of Cambridge, General math and science concepts, http://puzzling.caret.cam.ac.uk/index.php?section=home&style=4>
Charles River City, MIT, Disease transmission, http://education.mit.edu/ar/crc.html
Cooties, The Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education, Disease transmission,
Electro City, Genesis Energy, Environmental consequences of energy choices, http://www.electrocity.co.nz/
Environmental Detectives, MIT, Environmental science, http://education.mit.edu/ar/ed.html
Explore a Pyramid, National Geographic, Explore an ancient Egyptian pyramid remotely using a robot, http://www.mywonderfulworld.org/toolsforadventure/games/pyramid.html
HIFIVES, NC State University, General math and science concepts, http://ced.ncsu.edu/hifives
Immune Attack, Federation of American Scientists, Human immunology, http://www.fas.org/immuneattack
Live Long and Prosper, MIT, Genetics Simulation, http://education.mit.edu/pda/igenetics.htm
Mr. Vetro, AgentSheets, Inc., Physiological systems interactions, http://www.agentsheets.com/research/c5/index.html>
Mystery at the Museum, MIT, Forensics, http://education.mit.edu/ar/matm.html>
Outbreak @ MIT, MIT, Disease transmission, http://education.mit.edu/ar/oatmit.html
Planet Green Game, Starbucks, Relationship between actions and green house gas emissions, http://www.planetgreengame.com/
Quest Atlantis (QA), Indiana University, Promotion of social and moral development , http://atlantis.crlt.indiana.edu/
River City, Harvard University, Scientific inquiry and 21st century skills, http://muve.gse.harvard.edu/rivercityproject
ROAR: The Game!, BBC, Development and management of a zoo , http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/roar/
Science and Technology Game, SIMGE Research Group, Photosynthesis; Vitamins, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, http://simge.metu.edu.tr/fen/index.htm
The Reconstructors, Rice University, Pharmacology, reconstructors. http://reconstructors.rice.edu/recon1/index.html
Time Engineers, Software Kids, Engineering, http://www.timeengineers.com/
Virus, MIT, Disease transmission, http://education.mit.edu/pda/ivirus.htm
Whyville, Numedeon, Inc, Scientific literacy and socially responsible behavior, http://www.whyville.net/
Additional CD ROM and online games
The following are from a report done by Stephen Lovick of Planet 2025 for the World Bank on the state of serious games. There is some overlap with above:
• The Adventures of Josie True Online educational game for girls, targeting 5th grade science and math curricular areas.
• Allies and Aliens: A Mission in Critical Thinking Online educational game designed to help young people recognize bias, stereotyping and propaganda techniques on the Internet.
• America's Army (Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac, Xbox, PS2)
• Buggin (Internet) Online game that teaches kids the importance of proper handwashing.
• Close Combat: First to Fight (Xbox and Microsoft Windows): Began as a USMC training game, converted into a commercial game
•Crate (Windows): 3D Image Generation library for creating aquatic environments featuring pixel shaders and accurate physics models
• Cyber-Budget (Internet) puts players in the shoes of the French Budget Minister
• Dangerous Waters Developed by a company that makes actual training simulators for navies.
• DARWARS Ambush! Convoy Simulator developed as part of DARPA's DARWARS project, designed to create low-cost experiential training systems
• DISTRIBUTED OBSERVER NETWORK (Mac, Windows, Linux) deployed at NASA, leveraging commercial gaming technology to bring simulated mission data to analysts', engineers', and scientists' desktops. Created by Valador, Inc..
• DoomEd is a single-player first person shooter learning game that combines science and history with FPS action, taking players through the horror of bio-terrorism and WWII chemical experimentation gone wrong. Developed by DESQ.
• Dubai Police Serious Game - Official Site, A serious game for training traffic accident investigators at Dubai Police.
• Eduteams (PC) An immersive team-based software package built to ensure effective development of core and enterprise skills for young people, developed by TPLD.
• FF56! (PC & Mac - Flash-based), an interactive, educational graphic novel about the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Created by Lauer Learning.
• FINN (PC) Based on the idea of a group drawing board with 4 games and a freestlye mode that can be played by up to 64 players across either an internal network or the Internet, developed by TPLD.
• Food Force (PC) Humanitarian video game. The UN's World Food Programme designed this virtual world of food airdrops over crisis zones and trucks struggling up difficult roads under rebel threat with emergency food supplies.
• Full Spectrum Warrior (Xbox and Microsoft Windows): Began as a military training game, converted into a commercial game
• Freeze-Framer (PC) Biofeedback-based game to teach relaxation techniques
• GY$T (PC) Web based single player game which enhances a sales persons 'complex business to business sale' skils, developed by TPLD in conjunction with The Definitive Solutions Company.
• Harpoon (Mac/Windows): Entertainment version was "dual use" from 1989 forward. Professional version Harpoon 3 Professional created in 2002 with help from Australian Defense Department, updated in 2006.
• Incident Commander (Microsoft Windows): Game to teach NIMS-compliant incident management for multiple scenarios, including terrorist attacks, school shootings, and natural disasters
• Infection (Internet) Online game that teaches kids the importance of the proper use of antibiotics
• Infiniteams (PC) Multi player real time strategy game, which focuses on leadership development and team building, developed by TPLD.
• IntelliGym (PC) Cognitive simulation to train the basketball game-intelligence of professional and amateur players
• Interactive Trauma Trainer (Microsoft Windows): Currently under development, a decision based surgical training tool for the UK MOD.
• LegSim: Legislative Simulation (Internet) Web-based virtual legislature used in college and high school government and civics courses.
• Life Preservers Evolution Learning Game (Internet) Life Preservers is a video game that teaches National Science standards on evolution, adaptation, and the history of life on earth.
• Making History (PC) Turn-Based historical strategy game designed specifically as an educational tool to develop critical thinking and negotiation skills for college and high school students.
• MindFit (PC) Cognitive training of 14 skills for healthy aging.
• Nanocure (Flash): Real-time strategy game for teaching kids about nanotechnology. Developed by The Game Design Initiative at Cornell University (GDIAC) for Nanooze magazine.
• NanoMission (PC): World's first scientifically accurate 3d action adventure based on nanotechnology. Official Site
• NTE: Strike and Retrieve (PC): Recruiting game created for US Navy Recruiting Command.
• Peacemaker (Mac/PC, $20) A commercial game simulation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict designed to promote "dialog and understanding among Israelis, Palestinians and interested people around the world".
• Pulse!! (Microsoft Windows): Still in development, game to teach military and civilian health-care providers procedures and systems in an interactive virtual environment simulating operational health-care facilities Official Site
• Quest (Internet) Online game that teaches kids how to live independently (on the streets of Australia circa 1995)
• Re-Mission (Microsoft Windows): 3-D Shooter to help improve the lives of young persons living with cancer.
• Real Lives (Microsoft Windows): Life simulation that gives player the opportunity to learn how people really live in other countries.
• Real War and Real War: Rogue States (Windows): RTS game originally designed as a military training strategy game before being rejected and becoming a commercial game.
• RoboMemo (PC) is a working memory training program developed by Cogmed
• SIMENDO is a VR simulator for endoscopic (key-hole) surgery that incorporates a serious game in which the high-scores gained by residents in participating hospitals are shared over an internet database. website
• SimPort is a multiplayer game with the aim to develop a new port area in a period of 30 years simulated time. website
• Ship Simulator is a game whereby you learn to steer and manoeuvre various ships under increasingly difficult circumstances. There is a Professional version for nautical schools. website
• Steel Beasts Pro: Used by Finnish defence forces among others to train tankers.
• Stop Disasters Game: free flash-based games related to disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc.
• STRATA (Synthetic Teammates for Real-time Anywhere Training and Assessment) developed as a part of DARPA's DARWARS project to support on demand, team training in the Close Air Support (CAS) domain.
• Tactical Language & Culture Training System (Microsoft Windows): Computer-based learning system that lets people quickly acquire functional knowledge of foreign languages and cultures. Current titles include Iraqi Arabic, Pashto and French.
• The Basketball IntelliGym (Microsoft Windows): Used by basketball players for developing their cognitive skills, such as decision making, anticipation, team-play and execution.
• Thinking Worlds (PC, MAC) A globally unique engine developed by Caspian, that allows it and its partners, clients, educators and learners to develop there own highly engaging and pedagogically robust 3D Learning Based Games. Been used to develop over 40 different serious games in sectors as diverse as motor, pharmaceuticals, finance, retail, technology and education.
• Trex (Xbox): Tactical simulation which uses satellite data to generate synthetic urban environments
• VBS1 (PC) Based in the Operation Flashpoint game technology, sold as a training tool for the USMC and other military forces around the world.
• VBS2 (PC) Based in the Bohemia Interactive Australia simulation, VBS1 using the "Real Virtuality • Engine 2" developed by Bohemia Interactive and used in Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis in version 1. Related PC game title is Armed Assault.