What is it like to live in poverty, struggling every day to stay healthy, keep out of debt, and get educated?
Find out now in this challenging role playing game created by the High School students in Global Kids with the game developers at Gamelab, in which you take responsibility for a family of five in rural Haiti. The game includes extensive support materials for educators.
Suitable for: Grade 5 - Year10
Resources: TakingITGlobal Support Materials - http://www.tigweb.org/tiged/activity/view.html?ActivityID=81
Food Force
World Food Program's (WFP) video game to teach children about the logistical challenges of delivering food aid in a major humanitarian crisis. Set on a fictitious island called Sheylan riven by drought and war, Food Force invites children to complete six virtual missions that reflect real-life obstacles faced by WFP in its emergency responses both to the tsunami and other hunger crises around the world. Extensive support materials are provided.
Suitable for: Grade 5 - Year 10
Resources: Food Force 2 - http://www.foodforce2.com/
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Stop Disasters
This is a disaster simulation game from the UN - it aims at teaching children how to build safer villages and cities against disasters. Children will learn how the location and the construction materials of houses can make a difference when disasters strike and how early warning systems, evacuation plans and education can save lives.
Suitable for: Grade 5 - Year 10
Resources: Teacher resources - http://www.stopdisastersgame.org/en/information.html
Karma Tycoon
Karma Tycoon is an online strategy game in which players solve community problems, such as homelessness, in cities across the US. Players learn the ins and outs of the not-for-profit world as they apply for grants, receive donations and have to manage their budget efficiently. Resources are provided on financial literacy, social entrepreneurship and civic engagement.
Suitable for: Grade 3 - Year10
Resources: Study Guide - http://www.lessonplanspage.com/SSLAMathKarmaTycoonVideoGameStudyGuide712PreGame3.htm
Curriculum Guide - http://www.dosomething.org (you need to register to gain access)
Global Conflicts
Global Conflicts is an award-winning educational game series used for teaching citizenship, geography, and media courses.
The series allows students to explore and learn about different conflicts throughout the world and the underlying themes of democracy, human rights, globalization, terrorism, climate and poverty. The game series is easy to use for teachers and is developed with close attention to curriculum requirements and ease of use in classroom teaching. Extensive educator resources are provided.
Suitable for: Year 7 - 12
Resources: Global Conflicts Case Study - www.egenfeldt.eu/papers/case_study_global_conflicts.pdf
3rd World Farmer
3rd World Farmer lets players manage a small virtual farm in a developing country, and thus experience the hardships and dilemmas faced by the poor. 3rd World Farmer touches on many subjects related to world hunger and poverty, such as corruption, trade barriers, armed conflict, lack of education, sanitation, infrastructure and economic stability.
Suitable for: Grade 6 - Year 10
Resources: Global Education Resources - http://teach.ewb.ca/resources/fairtradegames
Real Lives 2010
Real Lives is a unique, interactive life simulation game that enables you to live one of billions of lives in any country in the world. Through statistically accurate events, Real Lives brings to life different cultures, human geography, political systems, economic opportunities, personal decisions, health issues, family issues, schooling, jobs, religions, geography, war, peace, and more! Real Lives 2010 provides educators with detailed lesson plans.
Suitable for: Grade 6 - Year 12
IndustryPlayer simulates all aspects of entrepreneurship: from strategy, investment and finance to the interactions with competitors, workforce, consumers, banks and our environment (CSR, Carbon Footprint). It's the ultimate choice in real-time strategy and tycoon simulation games.
Suitable for: Year 10 - Adult
The Arcade Wire: Oil God
The game explores the relationship between gas prices, geopolitics, and oil profits. Gasoline prices are affected most by possible or actual disruptions in oil producing regions, which might reduce supply without altering demand, thus driving prices up. One feature that characterizes the current fluxuations in gasoline prices, unlike previous ones in 1973 and 1981, are a multitude of simultaneous world events and geopolitical uncertainties: the Iraq war, missiles in North Korea, Hurricane Katrina, pipeline problems, the Iran/Korea nuclear, war between Israel and Lebanon war, and so forth...
Suitable for: Year 7- 10
Darfur is Dying
Darfur is Dying is a viral video game for change that provides a window into the experience of the 2.5 million refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan. Players must keep their refugee camp functioning in the face of possible attack by Janjaweed militias. Players can also learn more about the genocide in Darfur that has taken the lives of 400,000 people, and find ways to get involved to help stop this human rights and humanitarian crisis.
Suitable for: Grade 5 - Year 10
Resources: Take Action - http://www.darfurisdying.com/takeaction.html
Support materials available from - http://www.facinghistory.org/
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PeaceMaker challenges you to succeed as a leader where others have failed. Experience the joy of bringing peace to the Middle East or the agony of plunging the region into disaster. PeaceMaker will test your skills, assumptions and prior knowledge. Play it and you will never read the news the same way again.
Suitable for: Year 7-12
Web Earth OnlineWeb Earth Online is a multi player online game where you play as animals in an environmental web based world of nature. How would you cope in the environment of today if you were an animal or bird? Use this multi player online game to find out. Pitted against you will be species which may be friend or foe. Then you have the natural world to deal with too.
You will get to play through the entire life cycle of the animal you choose. Like all animal species, the objective is to survive and thrive. The basic game is free.
Suitable for: Grade 3 - Year 8
Clim'WayThe Clim’way game is about helping the larger community reach some specific climate goals. You have to create a climate plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a certain percentage in a certain time frame. Your plans can include setting up alternative energy sources, reducing human consumption etc. This French website has been translated to English, but watch for the (very) occasional French in the game.
Suitable for: Year 7-10
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Against all Odds
Against All Odds is an Adobe Flash video game developed by UNHCR designed to teach players about the plight of refugees. Originally released in Swedish in 2005, the game has been translated into several languages, the English edition of which was released in November 2007.Suitable for: Grade 5 - Year 10
Resources: Teacher's guide - http://www.playagainstallodds.com/teachersupervision/us/index_uk.html
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Now you can be the protagonist of the petroleum era: explore and drill around the world, corrupt politicians, stop alternative energies and increase the oil addiction. Be sure to have fun before the resources begin to deplete. Strategy games
Suitable for: Grade 3 - Year 7
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Project Enercities offers a serious gaming - learning platform for young people (typical target group: 15-20 years) to experience energy-related implications. The goal is to create and expand virtual cities dealing with pollution, energy shortages, renewable energy etc.
The development of the serious game is based on state of the art technologies and insights. The game is fully web-based, 3D perspective (via Unity3D plug-in) and is suitable to play on low-budget computers.
Suitable for: Year 7 - Year 12
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Akrasia is a single-player game that challenges game conventions and is intended to make the player think and reflect. It is based on the abstract concept of addiction, which is expressed metaphorically throughout the game.
Suitable for: Year 8-12
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Balance of the Planet
Balance of the Planet simulates nothing less than Earth's ecosystem. Although Maxis' Sim Earth is often credited as the first "ecosim", the title rightfully belongs to Crawford's game. Both games are equally interesting nevertheless, as they use two vastly different approaches to an enormously complex subject.
Suitable for: Year 7 - Year 11
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Climate Challenge
Climate Challenge is a single-player game about climate change, playable for free on the BBC website. It is a sandbox-style strategy game based on real climate change data, where the player can try out different approaches, learn about the issues and have fun at the same time.
Suitable for: Year 7 - Year 12
Resources: Science behind climate challenge - http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/hottopics/climatechange/climate_challenge/aboutgame.shtml
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A narratively driven 3D game about climate change. Within the 3D environment are a series of characters with whom the player can interact. Through these conversation the player learns of the characters situations and perspectives on the environment. If the player successfully convinces the characters to be more aware they create a positive change in the future. The player can move between the future and the present as they complete puzzles and conversations to see the effects of their choices. When the game is completed a montage depicting the future sums up the consequences of the players choices.
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Spearheaded by Justice Sandra Day O' Connor, iCivics is a web-based education project designed to reinvigorate civic teaching and learning. iCivics features free lesson plans, web quests, discussion forums, and games. With these tools, iCivics will help empower the first generation of 'digital natives' to become knowledgeable civic participants and leaders.
Suitable for: Year 7-12
Resources: Teacher guides and curriculum units - http://www.icivics.org/for-teachers
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A Force More Powerful
AFMP is the first and only game to teach the waging of conflict using nonviolent methods. Destined for use by activists, the game will also educate the media and general public on the potential of nonviolent action and serve as a simulation tool for academic studies of nonviolent resistance
Suitable for: Year 9-12
Resources: Non-violent conflict theory resources - http://www.afmpgame.com/resources.shtml
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Cyber Nations
Create a nation and decide how you will rule your people by choosing a government type, a national religion, tax rate and more. Build your nation by purchasing infrastructure to support your citizens, land to expand your borders, technology to increase your effectiveness, military to defend your interests, and develop national improvements and wonders to build your nation according to your choosing. More about the game www.cybernations.net/about.aspSuitable for: Year 8-10 (and some later years social studies theory)
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Tribal Wars
Tribal Wars is a browser-based game set in the Middle Ages. Every player controls a small village, striving for power and glory.
Suitable for: All ages
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Filament Games
Learning games that shine - titles include: Citizen Science, Energy City, Ecodefenders, Argument Wars plus many more.
Suitable for: All Ages
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Games for Change
Games for Change curates digital and non-digital games that engage contemporary social issues in a meaningful way. These games have been created by cross-disciplinary teams from around the world.
Suitable for: All ages
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Millenium Village
The Millennium Village Simulation is a web-based simulation of economics and survival for one family and their village in a sub-Saharan African village. In a virtual world of extreme poverty, disease, and environmental variability, students are challenged to help a family of two survive and prosper over a fifty-year period. By making decisions regarding the family's allocation of time and financial resources, students develop a greater understanding of the manifold disciplines -- such as agronomy, nutrition, economics, epidemiology, public health and development management -- that constitute sustainable development and how those disciplines interact with each other in "real world" scenarios.
Suitable for: Year 8-12
Resources: http://ccnmtl.columbia.edu/portfolio/social_sciences/millennium_village_s.html
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Farm Frenzy
Try your hand at running a farm.
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Imagine has a huge database of serious games.
Suitable for: All ages
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Fate of the World
The year is 2020. Climate change has been ignored. Cities are underwater. People are starving. Nations brace for war. Species are dying. And you’ve got to solve the crisis. The fate of the world is in your hands. This is a game with great depth that can act as a platform for students to learn about management, leadership, climate change, statistics, renewable energy, politics - the list goes on.
Suitable for: Year 9-12
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Catchment Detox
Play Catchment Detox to see if you successfully manage a river catchment and create a sustainable and thriving economy.
It's an online game where you're in charge of the whole catchment. You get to decide what activities you undertake - whether to plant crops, log forests, build factories or set up national parks. The aim is to avoid environmental problems and provide food and wealth for the population.
Suitable for: All ages
Resources: Teacher info - http://www.catchmentdetox.net.au/teacher-info/
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Trading around the World
Play this game to experience the challenges and excitement of international trade. See if you can get the best price for the goods you sell and the biggest bargains for the goods you buy. Watch how the global economy is doing: the prices you'll be able to get and the deals you can make depend on how healthy the global economy is.
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Balance of Power
The basic point of the game is to raise your country's (either USA or USSR) prestige level and spheres of influence all over the world while at the same time avoiding nuclear war. This is harder then one would expect as the A.I, or other player, is always trying to make sure his views get carried on. One is usually quite lucky yo get past 2 turns in a multiplayer game, specially if he's playing with someone with hardliner ideols.
Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balance_of_Power_(video_game)
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[Defcon] simulates Global Thermonuclear War.
Points are scored by successfully nuking the enemy civilian population into oblivion. This is an extremely difficult task because launching an attack on the enemy makes you very vulnerable - Ground Silos and Subs and Bombers all give away their positions the moment they launch nuclear weapons.
We're playing this game every day and people keep coming up with new strategies - but the bottom line is it's very difficult to win convincingly. Games often end with both sides obliterated. It's a fascinating and nervous game to play.
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Refugee Realities
Oxfam has developed a Game for Change about Aissa, a refugee who has to flee conflict in Darfur with her four children. You can help Aissa and her children avoid all the dangers they face, like landmines and guerrillas, and when you see the children's life running out, look for food to feed them.
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Be your own boss
Here's your chance to be your own boss! Pick a business you would like to start, and see how well you can make it grow. Make decisions wisely... because you can run it (and yourself!) into the ground if you make not-so-smart choices. Good luck!
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simSchool is a flight simulator for teachers that provides challenging teaching scenarios that develop the knowledge and skills needed for classroom success. Research has indicated that training time on the simulator makes a significant difference in a teacher’s self-efficacy and sense of the focus of control.
Suitable for: Teachers
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FRONTIERS is a conversion of HL2DM that offers the immersive experience of a migrant's journey into Europe from Africa.
In carefully remodeled conflict zones and migration hotspots (parts of our team went to the actual locations for research) , the players compete in the dangerous struggle of refugees and borderguards. It is a multiplayer game for up to 16 players, where one party, that is mainly unarmed, is trying to either cross a specific area (border) or escape a raid situation. The other party, mostly security and military forces, can use all necessary force to prevent this. Weapons vary depend on the local conflict situation with the guard side always changing identity. After a specific amount of succesfull crossing, the refugees are advancing a step towards Europe. Guards get promoted for the succesfull arrest of refugees, kills are never being rewarded. In some levels, they might lead to a loss of points.
Requirements: Half-Life 2

MIT SLoan Teaching Innovation Resources
Salt Seller, Eclipsing the Competition, Fish Banks and Platform Wars (simulations.)
Platform Wars:
In this live, web-based simulation, participants play the role of senior management of a video game hardware platform producer such as Sega, Nintendo, or Microsoft. Built around a companion case study describing the launch of Sony’s PS3, participants learn about the dynamics of competition in multi-sided markets. In such markets success depends not only on a product’s price and features, but on how many people own it (a direct network externality) and on the number of games and applications available – that is, the size of the installed base of complementary products (an indirect network externality). Platform markets are increasingly common in settings besides video games, including computers, the Internet and e-commerce, mobile telecommunications, and many others.

Suitable for: All ages

We’re going to challenge the way you think about poverty and homelessness.
Work hard. Do the right thing. Homelessness is something that will never happen to me. Sometimes, all it takes is one life-changing experience to land you on the streets: a job loss, death of a loved one, divorce, natural disaster, or serious illness.
Next thing you know, a chain of events sends things spiraling out of control…
How would you cope? Where would you go? What would you do? Figure something out, right?

WAY’s non-verbal gameplay is meant to elicit feelings of connection with random strangers from no particular part of the world. As players are unknowingly paired up with one another, they must adapt to gameplay changes while depending on a stranger to help them succeed and vice versa. This unique gameplay style is meant to spawn feelings of kinship and personal connection, which can be shared on a global message board on the game’s website.

Play the newest kind of soldier: one who remotely drops bombs on foreign soil during the day, and at night goes home to his family.
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In Quandary, players aged 8-14 shape the future of a new society while learning how to recognize ethical issues and deal with challenging situations in their own lives. Players must make difficult decisions in which there are no clear right or wrong answers but important consequences – to themselves, to others in the colony and to the planet Braxos. Players develop skills such as critical thinking, perspective-taking and decision-making. QUANDARY provides a framework for how to approach ethical decision-making without telling players what to think.