A new serious game about the genocide in Rwanda, "Hush," is definitely worth playing. As Ian Bogost points out in Gamasutra, it avoids the central mistake of USC's similarly themed Darfur is Dying, because its creators chose "to focus on a singular, personal experience as a solitary approach to the topic of genocide."
The game is a typing game that involves concentrating on letters that appear on the screen with innocuous words like "child," "hush," or "young." Typing these letters correctly is supposed to represent singing a lullabye to calm a young Tutsi child who has been hidden from marauding armed Hutus. As soldiers go by the house and are visible through a window on the play screen, it can be difficult to concentrate on your typing task. Failure causes the screen to go red to symbolize the killing of mother and child. Unlike other so-called "rhetoric of failure" games that emphasize the difficulties of existence in situations like ethical McDonald's executive or harried food inspector, it is possible to actually "win" and survive for another day in "Hush."
Note: This game is not recommended for PC-users, since I found it crashed my machine several times before I played it successfully on a Mac.
Labels: serious games