Thursday, 18 March 2010

A Video Game for Landmine Avoidance

via CAAI News Media

BY Ariel Schwartz

Hey, kids! Worried that you'll be blown up by landmines left over from past wars? Landmine Lookout can help. The video game, designed by researchers at Michigan State University, is designed to teach Cambodian children how to avoid landmines in the civil war-torn country.

Why a video game? Simple: It's hard to get little kids to pay attention to Powerpoint presentations. Instead, Landmine Lookout makes landmine avoidance fun. In the game, each player has to navigate through a maze filled with landmine warning signs while helping a pet find food. If the landmine indicators are avoided, the pet gets its grub.

MSU has already received a $78,000 grant from the U.S. State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement for the game's development. Once all the kinks are worked out, the researchers plan to send the game to kids in Cambodia for testing. Eventually, the game could be packaged along with the One Laptop per Child PCs--perhaps to landmine-riddled nations around the world. It makes sense--TV and video games have long been used for educational purposes. Landmine Lookout just makes the stakes a bit higher.

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