The UN is trying to …
The UN is trying to get some PR via a video game.

The UN food relief agency on Thursday launched its first ‘humanitarian’ videogame, offering different multimedia mission-games designed to attract children though full-screen video and 3D imagery. ‘Food Force’s graphics bear a striking resemblance to those of the blockbuster ‘Tomb Raider’ videogame’s – but can be downloaded for free from the Internet, adding to its appeal for parents.

‘Food Force’ – the first humanitarian videogame about global hunger, aimed at children aged 8 to 13 – was unveiled by the World Food Programme (WFP) at the International Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, Italy. It opens with a full-screen video sequence in which the player is briefed on a hunger crisis on the fictitious island country of ‘Sheylan’. A plane circles over a crisis zone. There is war and drought below, and people are hungry. The aircraft goes into a steep climb, before launching its first airdrop of food aid. A truck struggles up a muddy, treacherous road, and rebels loom up ahead. People are anxious, waiting, and food is scarce.

This is the virtual world of ‘Food Force’, where children can take part in six different WFP missions, alongside Food Force’s crack team of frontline emergency aid workers. These appear as a set of animated characters who help guide the player through a number of realistic challenges in each mission: piloting a helicopter to count hungry people against the clock; creating a balanced diet with limited funds; how to supply food when and where it is needed; dropping food into a crisis zone from a cargo plane.

No word about how far the realism goes. For example, do you get the opportunity to cook the books and make off with billions of aid dollars? Does it require you to engage in clandestine & illegal deals with the Ba’ath party in “Sheylan”? I mean, if we’re going to simulate UN food programs, we ought to be as complete as possible, shouldn’t we?

Maybe in version 2.0

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