Friday, May 19, 2006

Winners' Circle

Those who have been following MTV's Darfur is Dying contest with bated breath, will be thrilled to know that the official winner has been chosen, although fans who heard the announcement on the radio probably can't fully appreciate the graphic presentation of the game. You can play the Darfur is Dying game for yourself and consider how it attempts to dramatize both the unwinnable situation of African civilians trapped in the conflict and the can-do attitude of their American sympathizers.

The Darfur game contest was sponsored by a real political odd couple: the perhaps oxymoronic Reebok's Human Rights Foundation and the International Crisis Group, which has done excellent work on the rhetorical strengths of Internet appeals made by the Iraqi insurgency.

Another serious game that recently has won first place in a morally oriented contest is Peacemaker, also covered in this blog, which takes the prize for the Reinventing Public Diplomacy through Games Competition, sponsored by USC.

readers know my skepticism about public diplomacy and its use of digital media and why I am wary of academic sponsorship of this form of political marketing in the legitimated context of a field of scholarly inquiry. Nonetheless, rhetoricians at these centers are at least treating political persuasion in new media as a worthwhile object of study and thus probably deserve some collegial respect.



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