Digital Games for Peace (by Jen Welch)

*This post was originally published as part of Issue 5 of Build Peace Magazine – #peacetech – here.*

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As peacebuilders continue to explore new ways to manage and reduce conflict, digital games and apps present promising avenues for innovation. Digital games and apps are websites or web applications available on desktop computers or mobile devices that utilize game mechanics to engage users. Beyond entertainment, games can offer safe and engaging environments in which to showcase alternative narratives and develop and practice new responses to complex and dangerous situations. Games and apps for peace are part of a broader movement aiming to develop games that have social effects. While mainstream game publishers have been slower to adopt the idea, the movement is gaining momentum, as illustrated by the work of Games for Change or independent publishers such as Polish-based 11 bit studios and their critically-acclaimed release “This War of Mine“, which puts players in the role of a civilian trying to survive a siege by scavenging, hiding, and making life-or-death decisions.

Beyond entertainment, games can offer safe and engaging environments in which to showcase alternative narratives and develop and practice new responses to complex and dangerous situations. Games and apps for peace are part of a broader movement aiming to develop games that have social effects.
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