I don’t know if anyone else pays attention to the Google ads in Gristmill, but I just clicked on an ad for the game Xeko Mission: Madagascar and, wow, it sounds really cool! I’m all for creative ways of educating the public and this seems like a great way for families to learn about ecosystems.

And speaking of gaming, I direct you to this New York Times article by Clive Thompson titled “Saving the World, One Video Game at a Time“. Here’s a taste:

Video games have long entertained users by immersing them in fantasy worlds full of dragons or spaceships. But Peacemaker is part of a new generation: games that immerse people in the real world, full of real-time political crises. And the games’ designers aren’t just selling a voyeuristic thrill. Games, they argue, can be more than just mindless fun, they can be a medium for change.

The proposition may strike some as dubious, but the “serious games” movement has some serious brain power behind it. It is a partnership between advocates and nonprofit groups that are searching for new ways to reach young people, and tech-savvy academics keen to explore video games’ educational potential.

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’d like to see a quality video game address an environmental issue, particularly climate change. And I’m not the only one. Paul Loeb writing over at The Huffington Post blog:

Someone should make a video game of The Inconvenient Truth. The generation of most game-players will inherit global warming’s escalating march, and many won’t see any documentary, even an excellent one. Inconvenient Truth is, after all, a lecture and slide show, mixed with a strong personal story, some nice Matt Groening animation, and more humor and hope than you’d expect from a film on the subject.

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Given that we need to reach more people, how about an Inconvenient Video Game, a Sim World where players learn about the issues surrounding global warming, choose paths of action to address it, and link to real-world external websites? The goal would be to navigate America (and help navigate the planet) through what it will take to emerge without disaster. Players could research the facts, make good or bad choices, and see the consequences of various actions taken. The game could even include some modeling of political advocacy, so players could take the role of ordinary citizens, since our efforts will ultimately decide whether America ever does really addresses one of the most complex and urgent crises in human history.

What do you think?