Many have tried. All have failed. But with a new computer game, you can make peace in the Middle East. The software, called "PeaceMaker" ... allows you to play the part of the Israeli prime minister or the Palestinian president and make diplomatic, security and economic decisions.
Yesterday, as the Palestinian President met in Jerusalem with the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, I sat in my cluttered office a few blocks away and played PeaceMaker, a new game about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict... The parallels with what was happening in the real world yesterday were striking.
PeaceMaker is fun - challenging, tense at times, and extremely well-presented. But it's also an important game with the potential to enlighten people about one of the great issues of our time. That's a noble goal and one to which I would like to see more designers aspire.
The only other political computer game I've ever played that had this level of subtlety was Balance of Power, which I consider one of the greatest games ever made.
Try your hand at peace in the Middle East. In May Carnegie Mellon students won the University of Southern California's Public Diplomacy Contest for PeaceMaker, which challenges you to create a stable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
...the developers of "PeaceMaker" want to shatter that notion. Unlike most serious games, it aims to bridge the gap between education and entertainment and reach a mass market.
Parents who worry that video games are teaching kids to settle conflicts with blasters and bloodshed can take heart: A new generation of video games wants to save the world through peace and democracy. A team at Carnegie Mellon University is working on an educational computer game that explores the Mid-East conflict -- you win by negotiating peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Unlike other games that have dealt with the Israeli-Arab conflict ..., in PeaceMaker, the players enter the shoes of politicians rather than generals. Victory in PeaceMaker, as opposed to other computer games, is not achieved through quick deployment of forces, destruction of enemy units or control of territories, but by reaching an understanding with the other party to the conflict
Unlike some other computer games, Peacemaker is not about killing as many enemies as you can. It's not about that, though you certainly have the option. You become one of the leaders in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Dani Yatom, the former head of the Mossad and a former Israeli General - a veteran in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations agreed to review the game. 'It is clear that I need to send troops to destroy the infrastructure of the militants', Yatom says, but his hardline policy doesn't work well in the game: 'You Lost - Third Intifada' he reads from the screen. Game Over.
ImpactGames ... was founded by an Israeli and an American who wanted to create something about a conflict they found relevant not just to themselves, but to people all over the world. "We reached out to Palestinians (for the team) as well, and two joined".
Last week in an effort to solve the Israeli-palestinian crisis, I withdrew settlements in the Gaza strip. But then a suicide bomber struck in Jerusalem, the P.L.O leader called my actions "condescending", and the Knesset demanded a stern response. Desperate to retain control, I launched a missile strike against Hamas militants...
It is interactive. They have also managed to bring a lot of real-life material into it... It brings what would normally be a boring simulation or a board game of some kind to life on the screen and I think it makes it much more real for people who are playing the game.
Nora Al Subai, a computer science sophomore student taking the class: "Having real news events embedded in the game has changed how I view the different aspects of conflict resolution. Sometimes now in class we use examples from the game to express what we want to say".
National Conference of the World Affairs Councils of America (February 1 2007)
The Gandhi Institute's Nonviolence in the Age of Terrorism Conference (September 10 2006)
Education.au Seminar, Adelaide, Australia (March 3 2006)
Education City, Qatar (November 2005)
Game Developers Conference 2005, San Francisco (Spring 2005)
The Skoll Forum, Oxford, England (March 27 2007)
Sundance Film Festival (January 20 2007)
Games for Change Conference (June 27-28 2006)
Intetain 2005, Madonna di Campiglio, Italy (Nov 30-Dec 2 2005)
The Serious Games Summit 2005, Washington D.C. (Oct 31-Nov 1 2005)