Gaming for Good
As of 2010, twenty million players have spent 17 billion hours on Xbox live, which is just one of several online gaming systems in this 15 billion dollar (and growing) industry.
With numbers like these, it’s exciting to see social and environmental programs tapping into the game industry to use it for causes. Maybe you’re not much of a gamer, but admit it, you’ve at least given solitaire a spin. So here’s few sites you can check out and start gaming for good.
1. Freerice.com gives players a word and list of possibly synonyms. If they get it right, ten grains of rice are donated to children in Cambodia. Though ten grains of rice doesn’t seem like much, it increases quicker than you’d expect, some players donating thousands of grains a day, all the while increasing their vocabulary skills.
2. Freepoverty.com is similar to freerice, but (in my opinion) when it comes to the games, a bit more of a challenge! Players are presented with a city and country to locate on a map within only a few seconds. If you hit it right on the nose, freepoverty donates 10 cups of water to donated one of several nations worldwide. Often times, I was more than a little off the target, but the the closer I was to correct, the closer to ten cups of water I donated. Again, the water adds up quickly, and before you know it, you can win gallons of water to donate to needy nations.
3. Games for Change brings together organizations, individuals, game designers and nonprofits, to educate and inspire players on how to bring about social change. Games like Peacemaker challenge players to complete tasks that will establish peace in the Middle East. The game has even been used to help students of both Israeli and Palestinian descent understand the crisis in the Middle East, and view the conflict from a different vantage point.
Are These Sites Really Legit?
With websites like these, I always wonder if they are really donating. Well, with Freerice there’s no question. The website is supported by the United Nations World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian organisation fighting hunger worldwide.
Since its birth in October 2007, here’s what Free Rice has accomplished:
- In Bangladesh, to feed 27,000 refugees from Myanmar for two weeks. Watch Freerice being distributed in Bangladesh.
- In Cambodia, to provide take-home rations of four kilograms of rice for two months to 13,500 pregnant and nursing women.
- In Uganda, to feed 66,000 school children for a week.
- In Nepal, to feed over 108,000 Bhutanese refugees for three days.
- In Bhutan, to feed 41,000 children for 8 days.
- In Myanmar, to feed 750,000 cyclone affected people for 3 days.
Freepoverty has also done a lot of good, donating 294,711,345 cups of water since it’s inception. They are currently looking for a non-profit to collaborate it’s efforts with; for more information, contact contact email@example.com.
Games for a Change is definitely legitimate, making a big splash in the gaming world and receiving support from many respected foundations like the Knight and MacArthur foundations. At their annual festival this year, Â Vice President Al Gore was the keynote speaker. For more information watch the ABC News feature or visit their website.
I’m not much of a gamer. In fact, freerice may be the first online game I’ve played in my adult life. But gamer or not, knowing I’m doing something for another person (even something very small) makes spending a few moments on one of these websites well worth it.