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The Serious Game of Politics


Gordon Brown joins a virtual Paris Hilton, Alistair Darling and Keira Knightley as 3D characters in a new downloadable game from educational simulation specialist, PlayGen.

SeriousPolicy Game isn't satire, it sees the player on a mission to win Treasury funding for a new policy.

It is designed to be an example of how computer games can be put to use for both citizen engagement and education.

PlayGen's MD and head developer, Kam Memarzia, said: “Young people are largely disengaged from politics these days. We're showing how to engage audiences with new ideas through a medium they're comfortable with - i.e. computer games. Young people have a fundamental expectation of interactivity and we can use that to deliver educational value, and enjoyment too.”

In SeriousPolicy, the player can receive advice from Tony Blair and David Cameron, annoy Alistair Darling or be congratulated by the PM. Along the way, the player wanders through a virtual Members' Lobby at the Houses of Parliament, pops over to a simulated HM Treasury, and is summoned to a digital Number 10. Meanwhile, a Paris Hilton lookalike provides light relief and the MC bears more than a passing resemblance to Keira Knightley.

At the “Virtual Worlds Forum Europe 2007”, held in London last month, Lord Puttman called for virtual worlds to "encourage [young people] to exercise those same values and skills we wish to see them exercise in the real world”.

Companies such as Sun, IBM and BP are increasingly adapting 3D virtual world technology for internal corporate use. The United Nations recently launched “Food Force”, a game that helps people understand the difficulties of dispensing aid to war zones. And, in the US , police have collaborated with designers to produce “Booze Cruise” an educational game about the dangers of drink driving.

“Serious games are ideal for illustrating complex situations,” said Memarzia. “And they can reach huge audiences. Food Force has been downloaded by four million players, a number to rival commercial gaming hits such as Grand Theft Auto.”

SeriousPolicy is downloadable at


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