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September 5, 2006

Ayiti: Cost of Life


I've been meaning to do a post on serious gaming forever, but, you know how it goes. The idea of using games and game experiences to effect social change strikes the expected chord in me, and it also dovetails with practical experience I've had that suggests the bulk of social networking and community activity in the black web space operates according to rules that are relatively game-like.

Anyway, this caught my eye:

Playing 4 Keeps is an innovative youth media project, in which a team of Global Kids Leaders at South Shore High School are gaining leadership and game design skills that they will use to develop and produce a socially conscious online game each year. Once produced, the game will have the potential to educate thousands of young people about a critical global issue. The program is a collaboration with the award-winning online game design company gameLab (gmlb.com), and the GK Leaders at South Shore will work closely with gameLab's experts to produce their game.


This year, participants chose to focus their game on the general topic of poverty as an obstacle to education, based on their learning about the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and about obstacles to receiving an adequate education that youth face around the world. They then decided to use Haiti as a case study and setting for the game. Ayiti: The Cost of Life is a role-playing video game in which the player assumes the roles of family members living in rural Haiti. Over the course of the game, the player must choose among and balance various goals, such as achieving education, making money, staying healthy, and maintaining happiness while encountering unexpected events. The player must make many decisions that contribute to or detract from achieving his or her chosen goals. [link]

The game isn't finished yet, but you can sign up for updates about it here.

Posted by ebogjonson in haiti, videogames and other cracks, on September 5, 2006 10:39 AM


I didn't know you have a del.icio.us account. Check out mine (at http://del.icio.us/kspence). I have a series of links dealing with serious gaming. My plan is to write a book on it, from either a purely academic angle, or from a worldchanging/afrofuturist angle.

Posted by: Lester Spence at September 5, 2006 12:15 PM

thanks for the link to your links!

An afrofuturist book on serious gaming would be amazing. You should keep us in the loop.

I am curious about the Haitian game. Haiti doesn't make many appearances...

Posted by: ebog at September 5, 2006 7:38 PM

Okay, this is very ghetto. It's a manual trackback. LOL. I have to do this because my blog is on blogger and we don't ping over there. LOL. Anyway, here it is:


hope all's well on the west coast. bisous from Fort Greene. :-)

Posted by: alice b. at September 8, 2006 4:47 AM

I think the feeling some folks have that games are inappropriate for certain subject matter has to do with a high/low divide. Would you say that one shouldn't make a movie about Darfur or write a novel about it? Games are young medium, but they have the same possibility to transform people's ideas about the world as older mediums like film.

Posted by: ebog at September 8, 2006 11:22 AM

i hear you. i hadn't personally formulated a strong opinion on this issue. your post called to mind the negative feedback i had read about darfur is dying so. and yes, what you say makes lotsa sense to me.

Posted by: alice b. at September 8, 2006 11:42 AM

Nitpicky, perhaps, but I found it interesting that the home page of Global Kids web site doesn't say where South Shore High School is located. I had to visit the Contact page to learn that the Global Kids initiative is based in New York - so I'm assuming that South Shore High School is in New York as well.

I would think the Global Kids project would be more careful about situating itself in the global context!

Posted by: Georgia/Caribbean Free Radio at September 10, 2006 10:10 AM

You know, I didn't pick that up Georgia. Being from NYC I just assumed that they were the high school in Brooklyn...

Posted by: ebog at September 10, 2006 4:27 PM

Great advice! We'll do that. Thank you.

Posted by: Barry at October 7, 2006 6:04 PM

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Posted by: Lusidvicel at December 18, 2006 8:38 AM