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Playing with a conscience

Screen Play: "Last month Screen Play readers demonstrated their strong social conscience, and many other gamers around the world are also trying to make the world a better place.

Examples include the charity website FreeRice, which lets players raise money to fight world hunger, the hugely popular Child's Play charity for children's hospitals, or Habbo residents hosting a virtual global peace gathering tomorrow to try to set a new entry for Guinness World Records ahead of the United Nations' International Day of Peace on Sunday.

Serious games have also been created for political agendas, such as Australia's Escape From Woomera, which highlights the plight of asylum seekers in detention, and Darfur is Dying, which simulates life in a refugee camp.

Even the United Nations is using games to help educate Westerners about famine and the difficulties of distributing food in the third-world.

I was interested to read last week that at the TechCrunch 50 conference in San Francisco, a company called Akoha unveiled a new social reality game in which players carry out missions by performing small acts of kindness.

The missions are described on "mission cards" and involve both real-world and virtual challenges. As players perform more missions, they advance in the game, recruit new players and spread good deeds across the planet."

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