Playing 4 Keeps

[blog] Ayiti leads writer to consider use of games for social change, which describes itself as a site "covering the world of social entrepreneurship, social enterprise, corporate responsibility, international development, global non-profit and philanthropy work" learned of Ayiti: The Cost of Life, finding it "pretty fascinating coming across the concept," the concept being the idea of games designed to educate about global issues.

The writer described the Playing 4 Keeps program, which developed the game, "amazing stuff," and goes on to speculate:

"One could foresee the possibility that games like these could be a way for nonprofits to both educate and create profits for their causes. How about a game about international development based on 'Civilization' or something like that, where you have to help a nation develop, deal with war, natural disaster, famine, poverty, etc., etc. It could be a very interesting and educational game. You could have options to use microfinance, support social enterprises, get government or private aid, and have a multitude of scenarios as a result of your decisions."

read more here.

[blog] EdGames Recommends Ayiti for Educators 

We believe this is the first venue recommending the use of Ayiti for educational use:

"This simulation [is] one that kids at a variety of grade levels could enjoy and learn from. As an instructional tool it has excellent potential for initiating discussion and thinking about a variety of issues including human rights, poverty, and population issues. Very cool stuff."

Read more here.

"A number of very clever Flash animation games provide post-Election Day fixes for withdrawing political junkies... In The Cost of Life, a game created by Global Kids and the Gamelab and hosted on the UNICEF site, you take responsibility for saving a Haitian family of five from poverty... This week, while our minds are focused on politics and policy, the games above might just function as a fun and informative chill-out room for post-Election day political junkies."

Read more here.

[Press] The International Press Service News Reviews Ayiti 

The International Press Service News published a review of Ayiti: The Cost of Life, focusing on the role of the Global Kids youth leaders who took part in the process:

"Even in this pack of progressive educational tools, Ayiti stands out. It was actually designed by kids. And not only did student designers develop computer literacy in the process, they were forced to develop a deep understanding of the subject matter in order to build a game around it."

Read more here.

[P4K] Gamers Blog Strategies For "Beating" Ayiti 

A great site, Casual Gameplay, posted a fascinating review of Ayiti: The Cost of Life, from a gamers perspectice:

"Cost of Life is one of the best political web games released this year... The beauty of the play's resonance, of the messages only games can imply, comes in the gap between these constraints [of the game design], and orthogonally, from the gap between the game's representations and its simulated mechanics of economy and randomized interdiction. In that quiet space, you are not a pawn in an agenda, but a family, and holy flavin, thats art."

But better yet, after only two days live, the post generated dozens of gamers discussing and debating the best ways to succeed in the game. Learning how players tackled the various approaches to the game is quite fascinating. You can read them all here.

One posted, pinoyguy posted this screen-grab of an amazing play:
an amazing play

[Blog] Is Playing Ayiti a Form of Civic Engagement? 

Kate Raynes-Goldie addressed the issue of Ayiti: The Cost of life and civic engagement in her recent blog post:

the first time i played, my whole family died of various tropical illnesses. it was upsetting. i did better the second time. the designers purposely made it so the game was hard, but not impossible. it gave me a better idea of the kinds of challenges people in developing countries face. you can "know" intellectually, but i think playing actually gave me a better sense, because it gave me the chance to understand through experience.

and then i started thinking, does this game count as civic engagement? the hardcore civic engagement people would say no, and probably more 'progressive' people would agree. it doesn't actually get me to act, but i think getting a better sense and having more empathy is something.

Read more at here.

[Pod] Students Make Video Games, Learn Life Lessons 

Yesterday NY1 aired their 2 minute piece on Global Kids' Playing 4 Keeps program at South Shore High School.

You can watch the video here.

Transcript of piece follows.

Students Make Video Games, Learn Life Lessons
October 31, 2006

Students at a Brooklyn high school are making their own video games and their parents approve. NY1 Tech reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.

While their peers, after school, may play football or a musical instrument, students from South Shore High School, with help from the non-profit Global Kids, create video games with meanings, and lessons. The first one, just unveiled online is called “Ayiti: The Cost of Life,” and it puts a family of five poor Haitians in gamers hands.

[Web] WaterCoolerGames promotes Ayiti 

Ian Bogost, of the great site Water Cooler Games, just posted a review of Ayiti.

He writes, "The game (developed by veteran casual game developers game Lab) has high production value and strategic depth."

To read the rest, click here.

[P4K] Ayiti: The Cost of Life launched! 

Welcome to Ayiti: The Cost of Life. The game launched today on one of our partner's sites: UNICEF. You can find it at

To be notified when more information is available, please enter your email below. In the meantime, you can learn more about the game here.

Also, visit the Ayiti: The Cost of Life - MySpace site to see more photos and join our network of friends there.

[P4K] Playing Ayiti: The Cost of Life is a Rewarding Challenge 

People often find the game REALLY hard to play. Which it is. But here are some photos from one player showing that they should not give up - there is hope!

Everyone in the family is happy.

They bought out the store!

The community center is built.

This family is in good shape.

Everyone is alive, out of debt, with education.