I tried out the World Food Programme video game “Food Force” this weekend. I have to say, it’s a really fun game. And you do learn some interesting things about the challenges of delivering humanitarian aid, from dealing with rival factions in a rebel war to calculating the right quantities of rice, beans, oil, salt and sugar to use in a food aid package.
The designers have done a good job combining fun game play with engaging videos describing the various issues involved with delivering food aid. You get to fly around a helicopter looking for refugees, drop aid packages out of an airplane, and drive a truck through all sorts of difficult terrain. Neat!
I wasn’t crazy about the tetris-like puzzle where you have to match the various donations offered by governments with your actual needs for six months. But it does do a good job of showing how hard it can be juggling the various donations that governments give with your real needs on an ongoing basis.
There is a sobering moment when you quit out of the game when they dedicate it to the memory of an aid worker who was killed in the line of duty.
All in all, a great gaming experience and a useful education tool. Kudos to the World Food Programme.