Public Diplomacy Through Games

The University of Southern California has come up with the novel idea of hosting a competition to create a game promoting public diplomacy. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the results for months now!

“The USC Center on Public Diplomacy is looking for people to showcase their talent with a bit of world class game-making. The challenge to the game mod community, and current and aspiring game designers is as follows: design a prototype or modify a game incorporating the fundamental characteristics of public diplomacy”

The finalists’ presenations are now available and the winner is to be announced today.

Looking at these, I was searching for something creative and fun. As much as I adore and admire simulations such as Peacemaker – I was hoping something less ‘obvious’ would make the finalist list as well. I’ve often thought that the trick to learning in computer games is to hide the ‘message’ behind humor and absurdity. For a game to be truely successful in teaching something like the promotion of diplomacy, I feel it has to lure those who just want to go and have a great gaming time as well. I know of very few who play to learn something and having played my fair share of dreary simulation games for the jobs from my past (I’ll have to tell you about those some day! ) they usually don’t work (at least I can’t remember what I was supposed to learn).

I truely love the idea behind Hydro Hijinks, it actually made me think about Myst and the game of consequence.

The others are brilliant as well! Ambitious but lovely! I would however, love to see more fun and absurdity!

Anyways it’s a great initiative and a big ‘yay!’ to Second Life for making them all possible!

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