This guest post is by Marie Madsen & Josep Garcia from Search for Common Ground.
Search for Common Ground (SFCG) has developed its first ever video game together with the game developer Matsuko. Cedaria: Blackout aims to provide youth in the Middle East with a platform to learn and practice how to manage conflict, solve community problems collaboratively, and understand the perspectives of the “other”. At a time of escalating violence in the region, gaming can be an effective and innovative tool to reach out to young people and promote the experience of non-violent conflict transformation ideas and concepts. SFCG aims to demonstrate that videogames can be a fun and creative way to engage more young people towards collaborative problem solving.
Cedaria: Blackout is a steampunk game set in an imaginary Middle Eastern context. The island of Cedaria used to be a centre for advancement and prosperity. However, the desire to dominate the island gave rise to trouble. Bonds between the different inhabitants shattered, fights ensued, skirmishes broke out around every corner and threatened to collapse the very foundations of the island. It is now the player’s job to help Cedaria leave behind its conflicts and regain peace and prosperity.
In regular video-games players normally fight against evil enemies in order to win. Here they will have the option to experience how it is also possible to win through cooperation with others. By reinforcing the values of cooperation and practicing negotiation and mediation skills, players will be able to change their attitudes towards conflict and learn some more constructive ways to deal with it in their communities. SFCG brings here a long experience in training and empowering communities with non-violent conflict resolution tools in a variety of contexts. Individual attitudes towards conflict and ways to deal with it on the personal level have a relevant impact on both community and national peacebuilding processes. Cedaria: Blackout aims at empowering a new group of individuals in these processes.
While SFCG has a long experience in peacebuilding, we are new in the gaming universe and therefore we kindly call on all peacebuilders and gamers out there to try out the game and give us your feedback! Cedaria: Blackout is not only to be played alone in front of a screen; we want to trigger discussions on alternative ways to address conflicts with the youth of the Middle East.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Edited 10:56 CET March 07, 2016 with insight into SFCG’s experience in the field.