Forget blowing up the Death Star. Try being a Third World farmer!

Forget blowing up the Death Star. Try being a Third World farmer! June 5, 2006

There’s a fascinating and innovative new "Civilization"-style web-based game in the works where you take the role of a Third World farmer struggling to survive in the neofeudal economic order that is modern "Globalization" for much of the world. 

It can be played online, so try it out.

BTW, it looks like this game is being developed in Denmark.  It’s nice to see a reminder of the vision and compassion that characterized Danish politics before Denmark went Neo-Con.

A tip of the bloodsplattered helm to Modspil.

About 3rd World Farmer:

3rd World Farmer is a new kind of game. An experiment in the genre of Serious Games, it aims at simulating the real-world mechanisms that cause and sustain poverty in 3rd World countries.

In the game, the player gets to manage an African farm, and is soon confronted with the often difficult choices that poverty and conflict necessitate. We find this kind of experience efficient at making the issues relevant to people, because players tend to invests their hopes in a game character whose fate depends on him. We aim at making the player "experience" the injustices, rather than being told about them, so as to stimulate a deeper and more personal reflection on the topics.

We think the game has the potential to be an eye-opener to people who have become accustomed to the ordinary means of communicating third world desperation. Our aim is to have everybody play the game, reflect, discuss and act on it. The game is well suited to start off discussions about 3rd World issues, so we also encourage teachers to use it in their classes.


Originally, I’d written:

Think of it as a game that shows you just how high on crack Tom
Friedman must be everytime he waxes euphoric about the meager gains
made by the poor around the world under the rule of his beloved
multi-national corporations.

But now that I’ve played it I see that that’s not accurate.  Don’t get me wrong–he’s a hopeless Pollyanna, but this game doesn’t dwell on those issues.  Its focus is more on the daily challenges (droughts, famine, civil wars, …) facing farmers as opposed to the grossly lopsided and destablizing terms of regimes whose virtues people like Friedman extoll.

It’s a hard and more than a bit depressing game, which is probably appropriate for many farmers today.

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