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Dr. Petroski
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Darfur is Dying

on Thu May 24, 2018 9:24 pm
Since 2003, the Darfur region of Sudan has been the site of nearly 500,000 deaths and over 2.8 million displaced people fleeing civil unrest stemming from conflicts between several warring ethnic and tribal factions in Africa’s thirdlargest nation.

From April 2006 to April 2007, over 1.2 million individuals have relived the conflict—or at least, a virtual version of it—nearly 2.4 million times.

Referenced in Chapter 6, Darfur Is Dying is a particular type of video game—a serious game—designed to expose players to some of the details of the war in Darfur. In the game, players assume the role of a displaced refugee family that must fetch fresh water from a distant well and then bring the water back to help keep a refugee camp watered for seven days. In the meantime, players must avoid militia and armed security forces, and if they do get caught, the player is given a narrative account of how Janjaweed forces have been reported to treat their captives.

While the game has been criticized for doing little to actually impact the ongoing civil war, many critics suggested that it brought awareness to a conflict that had previously received little attention in international media. While it remains to be seen if Darfur Is Dying really provided a meaningful exemplar of the refugee experience in the Sudan, such games provide promise that we can learn and hopefully act on a number of social concerns not normally part of our daily lives.

In 2006, NPR’s Michelle Norris sat down for an interview with Susana Ruiz, the game’s creator and at the time, a graduate student at the University of Southern California. The complete interview is available at: npr.org.

What are your thoughts related to using online tools like games this way? Listen to the interview. What did it do for your awareness of the situation in Darfur? Did this change your thinking about using an online game to build awareness?

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Dr. Petroski
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Darfur is Dying

on Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:00 pm
After listening to the interview and playing the game for myself it did exactly what Susana Ruiz said it would do, and that's bring awareness. During the hour that I spent playing "Darfur is Dying" I really learned about all the characters and understanding the roles that each character plays and how they are affected if they are caught which translates over to what actually happens in real life. This definitely changed my views on the way online and even video games could build awareness. What I also found from playing this game is depending on your age and gender your punishment for being caught is affected. Personally I think that this is a great way to bring awareness to any situation now of days. In todays society our way of information comes through technology anyway so using another platform, a popular one at that can bring a new set of eyes of awareness to problems taking place around the world that are overlooked which are the teenagers in todays society.
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Dafur is Dying

on Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:05 pm
I agree that video games like that can be used to bring awareness to a topic. Kids especially can find this useful, who wants to sit and listen to a boring lecture about something or read the facts, when instead you could play a game or simulation that allows you to experience it yourself. I think any tool, that can help bring awareness to a topic that is not often discussed or well-known is a good tool, and I believe that games like these should be more commonly used.
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Re: Darfur is Dying

on Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:58 pm
It's hard to spread awareness for a cause that is important to many people; we as a society have very small attention spans and it jumps from one thing to another quickly. Finding ways to spread the message in out of the box ways and unique wise is difficult and time consuming. Why not play in favor of the audience and makes things more interactive and have them experience it. Online tools are changing the way we do things; the way we meet, talk, share ideas, and experience life, it’s all done online so it only seems appropriate to become activist and share our causes online.
The issue with our media and our government is that we tend to block things out that don’t pertain to our country and our people. Which is a horrible way of living; because we don’t know how certain things in other countries could affect us. I’m not one to go in depth looking through the news articles every morning and that’s why I’m surprised to see how horrible the situation has become in Sudan and how uninformed I am about the crisis. I think online games for bringing awareness is just another tool that the web has used to make us as a society better and informed.
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Re: Darfur is Dying

on Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:47 pm

Traditionally I’m skeptical of games like this being an education tool. Even if the intentions are true, its hard to handle how the perception shapes the games results. It just takes headlines like “Darfur dying is not a game” to misrepresent the purpose. I was in high school when this game came out and I remember people playing it as a joke and not seeing its true purpose, I played it as a macabre game and not a lesson on the world.. But I don’t think that’s the case anymore. I think within 10 years more people are plugged into the world and sensitive to the tragedies unfolding. I think if a similar game came out about Yemen the backlash of reactionaries might be stronger but also the number of people who would learn from it would be much stronger too. I hold that games can be amazing at teaching people about concepts they would rather avoid when they see the news article but for tis type of learning to flourish it takes a serious change in public thought on games and how they can help.
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KimDBrowneRegular1
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Darfur is Dead.

on Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:13 pm
The game Susana Ruiz created Darfur is Dying is a video game based on true events. If she expanded her game to other conflicts around the world where people are killed, prosecuted, shot, tortured, raped, touched inappropriately, drugged, detained for no reason, accidentally killed or purposely killed, blown up, killed over religious views, run over by a vehicle or spying for a foreign government, these are all true and need attention. Making an issue a game does bring awareness but that’s all it does. We are now aware that Darfur has been dying for years and I’m sad to say that the people in the camps have lost and the other side has won. There was no treaty or compromise over a half million dead and unlike the game you can’t restart.
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Re: Darfur is Dying

on Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:30 pm
I think that it was a good idea for Susana Ruiz to create Darfur is Dying. Many times people are not aware of what is happening in their own back yard (home country) let alone in another person’s home overseas. To portray a game that describes all that is happening in Sudan by making it easy for children and others to play is a great idea. It brings knowledge and awareness into the home states, and in my opinion it should make people care more. People do not care enough, and because it is not happening to them, they tend to ignore other problems. This game definitely changed my view on using online games to build awareness. It is a good start to letting people know that not everyone has the comfortable life like we do, where they may be in fear of actually dying just because their beliefs in religion, ideas, etc are different from those in charge. It is very disheartening to know that children have to fend for their lives just to go out and retrieve water from a well, or do small tasks on a daily basis.
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