PeaceMaker and indie educational software

I played this game PeaceMaker for the first time this week. The goal of the game is to establish peace in Israel by finding a two-state solution to the conflict. Here’s the NPR story. They have a list of assumptions the game adheres to with this telling bullet point:

  • Small concrete steps, not grandiose plans

I was completely immersed in the game. You choose to be the leader of Israel or the Palestinian people, and then you are given a palette of possible actions. The Palestinian leader has nearly a third less options than the Israeli leader, and must focus on cooperation to win.

I was the Israeli leader and played for more than an hour before I won. The close of the game presents you with a “violence” rating – I got a 63 (the scale went to over 250, I believe), and an admonishment to try for less violent means of solving the conflict the next time I played.

The social studies teachers are planning on getting the game for all the lab computers in the high school and designing curriculum for their Middle East module that includes PeaceMaker.

That sparked a discussion about other educational games and their impact with a generation of kids who grew up with amazing interactive games. I did a little searching and found Democracy through The Independent gaming source. I’m looking for other games though! The PeaceMaker blog was a great resource for a few moments of research.

I’m curious about games that are available for open source operating systems. I’ve only ever played Doom and Nethack with Linux. Most friends say that they keep a windows machine around to play games, so I imagine the gaming world hasn’t really leaped into using Linux.

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