If you'd like to try your hand at solving the Middle East conflict, here's your chance. Students at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) have created a thoughtful video game called PeaceMaker in which a player is charged with bringing peace to the region.
Acting as the newly-elected Israeli prime minister or Palestinian president, the player must respond to news of an aggressive act carried out by the other country. But peacemakers beware: making too many concessions may set an assassination plot into motion.
"We tried to shed light on how challenging it is for a leader to gain trust and understanding in the face of constant violence," said Asi Burak, who earned his master's degree at Carnegie Mellon and a bachelor's at the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem. Burak led the PeaceMaker project team with fellow ETC alumnus Eric Brown.
On the other hand, responding with military force may ignite more violence in the region. And don't forget there are other countries and stakeholders involved who will act independently according to their own agendas.
Burak added, "Peacemaking can be more complicated, sophisticated and rewarding than making war and it is a message that we would like to convey to young adults, the future generation of leaders."
The game has received an overwhelmingly positive response from government officials, groups and individuals on both sides of the conflict.
Burak and Brown want PeaceMaker Israel-Palestine to be the first in a series of games that address other conflicts in the world. They recently formed ImpactGames and are working to take the game to market in 2007.