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Using Computer Games to Support Democracy and Conflict Resolution

Video games can be fun to play. They also can teach people how to settle conflicts peacefully. This is a video game called Food Force. It can be downloaded from the Web site of the World Food Program. The groups Jennifer Parmalee says the game shows children the difficulty of getting food to areas of conflict. JENNIFER PARMALEE: It helps them feel like they can be part of a solution. Thats something empowering and fun for them. Another video game is called A Force More Powerful. It takes place in a city similar to Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia. Ivan Marovic designed the game. Ten years ago, he organized protests against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. The president resigned after disputed election results in two thousand. He was arrested on war crimes charges, but died before his trial was completed. Marovic says his game shows non-violent ways to help remove oppressive governments. IVAN MAROVIC: Like strikes, boycotts, civil disobedience, street protests, in order to force the regime to either concede or to step down. Marovic says another goal is to win public support. He says the goal is to win the loyalty of people who support the government. Another goal is to keep up the interest of your current supporters. This game deals with the situation in Darfur, Sudan. The conflict in Darfur has displaced three million people. A Web site called Second Life was used to create the Darfur video game. Players can build their own make-believe world and contact others through voice and text messages. Scott Sechser works for Linden Labs, which created Second Life. He says the game lets players come in and see what is taking place in Darfur, listen to a family which left Darfur and is now in a refugee camp. The Second Life Web site is able to change text messages in English to other languages. Sechser says he has communicated with people from around the world. Other parts of Second Life help to support democracy and conflict resolution. They include a courtroom where people can learn about legal systems in a democracy. I'm Bob Doughty.
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