Grain Power!
April 14, 2005 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Why should the UN spend money to feed the hungry when they can simply pay a software company to create a video game about feeding the hungry? "In an exciting and dynamic form, Food Force will generate kids' interest and understanding about hunger, which kills more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined,” says Neil Gallagher, the World Food Programme’s Director of Communications.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow (15 comments total)
And on a side note: Worse. Software. Company. Website. EVER.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:30 AM on April 14, 2005

"AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis..."

Gee, I wonder why he chose those three maladies...
posted by docgonzo at 10:31 AM on April 14, 2005

This is about as likely to motivate kids to acts of selfless altruism as the GTA franchise is likely to motivate them to sensless violence.

*tawk amongst yourselves*
posted by pieisexactlythree at 10:35 AM on April 14, 2005

It's an innovative way to raise awareness, but I doubt it will have much of an impact. Kids don't like video games, they like good video games. TThis game will probably be as successful as a Transformer robot that turns into a building.
posted by Jart at 10:38 AM on April 14, 2005

How is this so different (actually, it's better, i think) than when we trick-or-treated for UNICEF each year? It taught us young that there were people starving in the world, and cost them millions to distribute those orange paper boxes. Why not use any means at their disposal to raise awareness and stuff?
posted by amberglow at 10:40 AM on April 14, 2005

On second thought, why not just have the experts do the game design in-house?
posted by pieisexactlythree at 10:40 AM on April 14, 2005

Eh. My bloviation meter always goes off when I hear the question "why are you doing this instead of feeding the hungry?" When applied to someone who is actually busy feeding the hungry, it seems even more silly.

Still, the game also looks silly.
posted by soyjoy at 10:43 AM on April 14, 2005

Bah, products are so passé, it's all about brand recognition these days!
posted by furtive at 10:51 AM on April 14, 2005

If done right, a game can have a powerfull impact on peoples' outlook on issues. I'm loath to admit it, but my career was heavily influenced by a computer game.
posted by pieisexactlythree at 10:52 AM on April 14, 2005

I remember a game for the Atari 2600 called "Tooth Protectors" (or some such nonsense) that was supposed to promote better dental hygiene among kids. I don't remember ever brushing my teeth more, but damn, did I get some high scores repelling those evil plaque particles!

Even if games aren't the answer to the problem, I also fall on the side of doing creative PR to let people (including kids) know about the problem and how the UN is addressing it.
posted by ChrisTN at 11:03 AM on April 14, 2005

How about a UN Sim.

You have to keep all the nations talking and not fighting. With bonus points for not losing face. (or letting your kids do it for you)
posted by The Infamous Jay at 11:31 AM on April 14, 2005

A video game to influence kids? I think kids already understand concepts like helping others and sharing - go into any elementary school classroom. Now a game for adults, that's a challenge...
posted by iamck at 12:13 PM on April 14, 2005

My bloviation meter always goes off when I hear the question "why are you doing this instead of feeding the hungry?"

Ditto. My mom calls it playing Judas: When Mary poured perfume on Jesus' feet, Judas asked, "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." The apostle John notes that Judas said this not because he cared for the poor but because he was Jesus' treasurer and embezzled.

Sometimes I'm glad I used to be a Christian.
posted by NickDouglas at 3:25 PM on April 14, 2005

Because, the UN thinks ahead. If the game can influence young people, when those young people grow up to vote, perhaps they will not vote for robber barons who campaign using anti-UN paranoia.
posted by eustacescrubb at 5:49 PM on April 14, 2005

fun game..if i was a little kid, this would make me want to work for them. the Food Drop is hard. (very big download tho) now to do taxes--ugh
posted by amberglow at 6:27 PM on April 14, 2005

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