MSU-Developed Game Teaches Kids to Avoid Landmines

March 15, 2010 -

A game in development at Michigan State University was designed to teach Cambodian kids, and others around the world, how to avoid landmines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO) that might be scattered about their countries.

Undercover UXO is funded principally by a $78,000 grant from the U.S. State Department and via a partnership with the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation. The game is intended to run on the One Laptop Per Child $100 computer.

The State News offers a description of the game:

Players use directional buttons to guide a character, accompanied by a pet, through a series of Cambodian landscape pictures in search of food. Players must avoid land mines and other artillery, called unexploded ordnances, or UXOs, by following warnings…

The Golden West Humanitarian Foundation backed the game as a solution because informational pamphlets were deemed “ineefective.”

Development team leader Corey Bohil added, “It should be fun enough that a kid wants to play this game over and over again … and get enough repetition that when it transfers out into the real world, it translates into actual changes in behavior.”


Comments

Re: MSU-Developed Game Teaches Kids to Avoid Landmines

"Development team leader Corey Bohil added, “It should be fun enough that a kid wants to play this game over and over again … and get enough repetition that when it transfers out into the real world, it translates into actual changes in behavior.”

Anyone else find a problem with this statement, or have I got to point it out?

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: MSU-Developed Game Teaches Kids to Avoid Landmines

i made a comment like yours above, but after reading it again a day later, I think we both are wrong.

The truth of the matter is that land mines are in a lot of places. It's not like a game, where you come to an area with a sign that says "10 land mines ahead". That does not mean a game cant be used to teach safe survival techniques.

What the producers here are trying to do is change the way children think, in the hopes that it might keep them alive by not being in a place where land mines might be. I can't fault them for that.

it's not like kids are going to play the game, then go land mine hunting because they beat the game and think they are experts.

Re: MSU-Developed Game Teaches Kids to Avoid Landmines

Are you referring to him saying it should be "fun"? That's the same with any game. If a kid plays it for 30 seconds and is bored, then he won't continue and learn the hopefully life saving lessons the game has to offer.

True, it seems rather absurd to phrase it the way he did, but it's a valid point.

[edit] Actually, I just noticed the part that you italicized... so no I don't see what's wrong with it. lol

Re: MSU-Developed Game Teaches Kids to Avoid Landmines

1) It's sad that this kind of a game is needed 

2) This had better be presented in a way that makes it real. Any attempt to make this situation "game-like" is a horrible thing. Just as we scoff at people who call FPS games "murder simulators", i would hate to hear of a kid who died from a landmine thinking "well i did just fine in the game"

Having to avoid death to get food is a horrible reality of life for some people in the world.

Re: MSU-Developed Game Teaches Kids to Avoid Landmines

1. Yes it is...

2. Point taken, however there are also stories where kids applied first aid because they took basic training in America's Army. From the kid's perspective, it's about learning the task. Games, any games, also help with hand-eye coordination. Once those kinds of tools are learned, they can't be unlearned. So overall the benefit is solid.

Re: MSU-Developed Game Teaches Kids to Avoid Landmines

Don't they already have a game where you're supposed to avoid mines called Minesweeper?

Re: MSU-Developed Game Teaches Kids to Avoid Landmines

Haha, I was about to post something just like this

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson'll justify it in the end." - nightwng2000

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson'll justify it in the end." - nightwng2000
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