Friday, June 03, 2005

Wow! It's great to see an org like the WFP have a marketing success like this and it seems really interesting on a lot of different levels:

New York, Jun 1 2005 2:00PM
(UN News Centre)
Launched by the United Nations only six weeks ago, the first video game designed to teach children about global hunger has surpassed all expectations in the gaming world by reaching more than one million players in 40 countries.

What makes this achievement highly unusual is that no android attackers are blown away in the game, “Food Force,” released by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in April. Instead, kids race against time to feed thousands of people on the fictitious island of Sheylan, alongside a crack team of emergency aid workers.

They pilot helicopters while looking out for hungry people, negotiate with armed rebels blocking a food convoy, and use food aid to help rebuild communities. Along the way, they learn about the real world where over 800 million people are plagued by hunger each day.

“Finally! An educational game that rocks!” comments

Available as a free download in MAC and PC formats through a dedicated website where information on global hunger can also be found, the world’s first humanitarian video game contains six different missions aimed at children 8-13 years old. Evidence of the response to the game includes thousands of comments posted on the site along with highest scores.

As of today, “password300” of China leads with 148,952,869 points.

According to John Powell, WFP Deputy Executive Director, the game is reaching 40 countries even though it is currently available in English only. Powell is looking for partners to help translate the game into other languages.

The WFP is also focussing on free distribution in schools around the world, backed by Yahoo! and Internet2, a Washington-based high-speed educational network. In addition, the game is supported by a community web site which includes lesson packs on world hunger in seven languages provided by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

 Posted by Hello
I just saw the recent film adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe and enjoyed it immensely. It was particularly interesting to see how the filmmakers chose material from a book whose content is sometimes not altogether easily filmed. I'm also interested in the quantity of 'Douglas Adams-ness' in the screenplay since he was working on an adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide when he died, though I'm not sure exactly how close to completion he felt it was.

In other news, I have stumbled upon Conversations with History an extremely wide-ranging archive of fascinating interviews with people of remarkable insight and experience in global issues that reach much deeper than most similar programs I have seen. Anyone interested in world events should browse widely within the literally hundreds of recorded interviews.

I just finished listening to Timothy Garton Ash discuss his deep insights gained from being at the epicenter of the collapse of Soviet Communism's influence on Central Europe. The whole interview is excellent but listen especially for the description of how he helped Lech Walesa communicate with Margaret Thatcher.

I also really enjoyed a fabulous interview with Thomas Goltz. Listen to how he came to get out of Samashki, the Chechen village he lived in for several weeks during the wars in Chechnya.

I also recommend that you visit Thomas Goltz's own site( and take a look at the beautiful slide show he has put together of his trip, by motorcycle (and sidecar), along the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline route in 2002.

Well, I guess I should get back to work... more soon!