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Hit Humanitarian Game Has One Million Players

Surprise Hit Humanitarian Video Game Reaches One Million Players -- UN

New York, Jun 1 2005 2:00PM

Launched by the United Nations only six weeks ago, the first video game designed to teach children about global hunger has surpassed all expectations in the gaming world by reaching more than one million players in 40 countries.

What makes this achievement highly unusual is that no android attackers are blown away in the game, “Food Force,” released by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in April. Instead, kids race against time to feed thousands of people on the fictitious island of Sheylan, alongside a crack team of emergency aid workers.

They pilot helicopters while looking out for hungry people, negotiate with armed rebels blocking a food convoy, and use food aid to help rebuild communities. Along the way, they learn about the real world where over 800 million people are plagued by hunger each day.

“Finally! An educational game that rocks!” comments

Available as a free download in MAC and PC formats through a dedicated website where information on global hunger can also be found, the world’s first humanitarian video game contains six different missions aimed at children 8-13 years old. Evidence of the response to the game includes thousands of comments posted on the site along with highest scores.

As of today, “password300” of China leads with 148,952,869 points.

According to John Powell, WFP Deputy Executive Director, the game is reaching 40 countries even though it is currently available in English only. Powell is looking for partners to help translate the game into other languages.

The WFP is also focussing on free distribution in schools around the world, backed by Yahoo! and Internet2, a Washington-based high-speed educational network. In addition, the game is supported by a community web site which includes lesson packs on world hunger in seven languages provided by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).


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