The era of technology offers a great opportunity for peace workers and proponents of conflict transformation to use technological platforms to reach people across the globe and make a more powerful impact. The current uptake of technology in peacework includes the use of games, apps, mobile platforms, social media, and big data.
Specifically, gaming has become a multibillion dollar industry. Research firm DFC Intelligence estimates that the worldwide video game industry is poised to reach $70.1 billion by 2015 due to the combined growth of console, portable, PC, and online video games. Yet many popular games offer violence driven games even for young people. Games for Change has identified a lack of ‘peace-themed games’ but states that it is an industry that is slowly growing.
We, the Peace Superheroes team, (Sabrina and Marianne, the facilitators) are developing a Peace Superheroes digital game so we are seeing first-hand the opportunities and challenges in this space.
We invite participants to share their thoughts and ideas including projects they are currently working on or wish to develop. We also see this forum as an opportunity to harvest and share resources amongst participants around the use of gaming technologies in ADR and peace work.
Sabrina started out her career in Australia after completing a Psychology degree which landed her with her first job as a community counselor. Sabrina's passion and vocation have always lied in her commitment to help others and make a positive and significant social impact.
Sabrina moved on to complete a Master's degree in Human Resource Management to be able to successfully business partner with NFP leaders and executive teams to achieve greater impact and outcomes.
As a result, Sabrina has over 10 years experience in senior management across different sectors. This has consisted in living and working across several countries including the Mexico, UK and Papua New Guinea.
Sabrina also completed a Master's Degree in Peace and Conflict studies in the University of Sydney. She is passionate about conflict transformation and peace building. Her project management experience and interest in social justice has led for her to co-found a global team with two other peace proponents, who are working on Peace SuperHeroes, game design to teach young people/ children how to learn conflict transformation skills and make more positive choices under stressful situations. Gaming is a platform that combines her interest and belief that technology is a great tool to use to resolve many of today's problems.
Marianne Perez de Fransius helps people see the value of and access peace in their daily lives so that we can all live in a better world. She does this by rebranding peace as sexy, possible, profitable, and fun; teaching middle school kids peace and conflict transformation skills through video games; and helping parents travel the world with their babies. Marianne never felt like she fit in because she was born in Brazil of a French father and an American mother and was brought up in the Sephardic Jewish tradition. But growing up in a multicultural household and experiencing an international education, Marianne has seen over and over again the power of people to connect despite all their differences. Her bachelors degree is in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and her masters in peace and conflict studies from the European Peace University where her thesis was on "Moving Mainstream Media Towards a Culture of Peace." Marianne is also the author of "The Dreaded Conversation Workbook: Navigate Dreaded Conversations with Ease."
Wow! Amazing! Thanks for sharing all these resources Bill.
Do you know of any researchers (or how we might find researchers) that would be interested in having input on the game design and doing M&E?
Thanks Bill! These are great leads and we could definitely have a further conversation too around featuring with CREducation.org when we are ready.
You can reach out to us directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to everyone who has participated so far! We'd love to hear more about what you all are doing and what your interests in games are. Have you developed one? Are you thinking of developing one? Do you play games? How do you see games applying to ODR/ ADR/ peacebuilding/ conflict transformation?
One video that we have found incredibly useful in terms of better understanding the potential of games for pedagogical purposes is this one by James Paul Gee from the University of Arizona:
<iframe width="475" height="267" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4aQAgAjTozk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
What do you all think of the ideas Jim discusses in this video?
In case you're not getting the video above, you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/4aQAgAjTozk
I started viewing Jim Gee's video and I can see why you like it. Clear and encouraging.
Regarding things I've worked on, about 5 years ago I put together some game and interactive learning things as part of the annual Conflict Resolution Day events that ACR and CREducation.org help sponsor. The site requires Flash player and hasn't been updated since, so I'm sure a few links may be bad or things won't work anymore, but you can have a look at my creativity here: CR Day Interactives
Also more recently I developed an iPad app for educators and included a few interactive learning games there using drag and drop mainly. I'm not even sure if the free iPad app will work in the latest iOS version, but it is resource rich and can be found at the iTunes Store searching for "Conflict Resolution Education" or via this link:
Anyone have a favorite program for developing low-end games, such as one I might tailor for a virtual team exercise as part of a facilitated conflict resolution? So, nothing fancy ....
We are currently using ciickteam (Fusion) for the rapid prototyping.
Also we are working with Unity.
I was just on the Games for Change website and came across their list of recommended tools: http://www.gamesforchange.org/resource_categories/game-making-tools/
Also, you could get on their listserve and ask there. The community is great. I'll post a link to it below.
Thank you Bill! we will check it out :)
I thought I'd share a cool Peace Game from 2014, a project inspired by the siege of Sarajevo. In This War of Mine, the player has to scavenge for supplies and interact with people affected by war. I appreciated a compelling story about the grim realities of violent conflict.
Really enjoying the conversation I've seen here so far. I see a few projects I need to check out. :)
I got this game during a sale on Steam (I think it was), but I STILL haven't played it. Sounds like I need to prioritize more gaming in my schedule, as research of course!
we wanted to ask participants:
What do you see to be the biggest challenge(s) in making a sustainable, impactful and highly engaging game in the peace space/ conflict transformation space?
Note the article below and how many violent-based games are successful