Television

MTV US unveils student-developed viral video game

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MUMBAI: US broadcaster MTV has announced that mtvU, its college network, in partnership with the Reebok Human Rights Foundation and the International Crisis Group have launched a viral video game.

The game was conceived and developed by a group of digital activists from the University of Southern California. mtvU had launched the Darfur Digital Activist competition -- "Darfur is Dying.

The viral, online video game aims to spread awareness of the genocide taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan. It looks to serve as a call to action, and further empower college students to help stop the killing.

Darfur is Dying is available for play at www.darfurisdying.com. Gold medallist Joey Cheek in February donated his $40,000 Olympic prize purse to relief efforts in Sudan and helped spark additional donations approaching $1 million.

The game is a narrative-based simulation where the user, from the perspective of a displaced Darfurian, negotiates forces that threaten the survival of his or her refugee camp. Humanitarian aid workers with extensive on the ground experience in Darfur advised the students throughout the development process, helping to ensure the game accurately captured and was sensitive to the refugees' plight.

Darfur is Dying was designed to engage users and provide a window into the refugee experience -- offering a faint glimpse of what it's like for the more than 2.5 million who have been internally displaced by the crisis in Sudan. Calls to action are a fundamental part of the game and the user is presented with several opportunities during game play to become involved.

Kiosks will be set up across the US where people can play the game, send it to others and take immediate action to help end the crisis. mtvU will also be exhibiting the student-filmed documentary Translating Genocide: Three Students Journey to Sudan. The film captures the devastation of the genocide in Darfur and was entirely filmed by college students.

MTV adds that several artists and student groups from across the US participated in the online launch of the game a couple of days ago.

mtvU GM Stephen Friedman says, "College students were among the first to cry out for an end to the atrocities in Darfur and this game is another way mtvU is serving as their
megaphone. Darfur is Dying is a powerful tool college students can use to help stop the genocide in Sudan and we applaud the USC team for their important contribution to this
critical cause."

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