A group of men sit on board an airplane with their hands and feet restrained. Their heads are covered by black hoods. Guards push them around and finally force them into a dog like pound surrounded by barbed wire. “Gone Gitmo” is a digital recreation of life in the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo. It is one of several of a new breed of computer games which will hit computer stores this fall that are designed to engage people in confronting social and human right issues. The creative talents of social activists are now directed towards expanding awareness of world conflicts by using games to interest people. In “Global Conflict” a player assumes the role of a journalist who is studying the Israel/Palestinian conflict. One of the tasks is to determine if Israel security forces are acting appropriately in dealing with terror attacks. A few months ago in June, a “Games for Change” conference was held in New York and attracted political science professors, computer experts, and employees from the UN and the World Bank.
Society is witnessing new dimensions of how computers will alter human consciousness. Computer games are but one of many new facets of human life that have the capability of transforming political and social activism. Virtual Reality in the coming years will play a significant role in making people go beyond reading about human rights abuses by allowing them to actually live with these events.