mtvU (MTV University)

GS_Stories1sBusiness problem:
Communication, Engagement

Serious games used:
Darfur Is Dying

In 2006, civil war in the Darfur region of the Sudan — along with the starvation, displacement, and mass killings that accompanied it — was a front page story. The seeming indifference of average citizens in the West to the plight of the Darfuris was a constant topic of conversation among human rights activists, relief agencies, and others who wanted to elevate the level of information, sympathy, and support.

One of these concerned individuals was Susana Ruiz, a film student in the graduate program at the University of Southern California. She created a browser-based game, Darfur Is Dying, to thrust players into the perils facing the member of a Darfuri family. The game presented constant threats to survival, from collecting water to evading murderous Janjaweed militiamen, that real Darfuris face every day.

Ruiz had originally designed the game to depict the Rwandan civil war, but she learned that mtvU and an international relief organization were jointly funding game projects that could raise awareness about Darfur. With their backing, Darfur Is Dying reached its goal of reaching a broad audience, with over 1 million players by 2007.

For more information…

Darfur Is Dying web site
Washington Post article about Darfur Is Dying
Interview with Susana Ruiz

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