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USC, mtvU To Launch  Darfur Is Dying  Activism Game

USC, mtvU To Launch Darfur Is Dying Activism Game

April 27, 2006 | By Simon Carless




mtvU, MTV's 24-hour college network, in partnership with the Reebok Human Rights Foundation and the International Crisis Group, has announced that the winning game in the mtvU Darfur Digital Activist competition -- Darfur is Dying, conceived and developed by a group of digital activists from the University of Southern California -- will launch this Sunday at the "Save Darfur: Rally to Stop Genocide" in Washington, DC.

The viral, online video game aims to spread awareness of the genocide taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan, serve as a call to action, and further empower college students to help stop the killing.

Darfur is Dying will be available for play at the official game website beginning April 30th at 1:30 pm ET. At that time, gold medalist Joey Cheek, who in February donated his $40,000 Olympic prize purse to relief efforts in Sudan and helped spark additional donations approaching $1 million, and Nate Wright, a senior at Georgetown University and co-founder of STAND (Students Taking Action Now: Darfur), will officially launch the game near the steps of the US Capitol.

The winning game in the mtvU Darfur Digital Activist competition was developed by Susana Ruiz, Ashley York, Mike Stein, Noah Keating and Kellee Santiago of the University of Southern California. Darfur is Dying is a narrative-based simulation where the user, from the perspective of a displaced Darfurian, negotiates forces that threaten the survival of his or her refugee camp. Humanitarian aid workers with extensive on the ground experience in Darfur advised the students throughout the development process, helping to ensure the game accurately captured and was sensitive to the refugees' plight.

Darfur is Dying was carefully designed to engage users and provide a window into the refugee experience -- offering a faint glimpse of what it's like for the more than 2.5 million who have been internally displaced by the crisis in Sudan. Calls to action are a fundamental part of the game and the user is presented with several opportunities during game play to become involved: write or e-mail the President, petition Representatives to support the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, start a divestment movement on campus, and most importantly, spread word of the genocide in Darfur to others.

"College students were among the first to cry out for an end to the atrocities in Darfur and this game is another way mtvU is serving as their megaphone," said Stephen Friedman, GM, mtvU. "Darfur is Dying is a powerful tool college students can use to help stop the genocide in Sudan and we applaud the USC team for their important contribution to this critical cause."


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