Darfur is Dying

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Darfur is Dying is a flash-based browser game about the crisis in Darfur, western Sudan. The game won the Darfur Digital Activist Contest sponsored by mtvU. Released in April 2006, more than 800,000 people had played by September. It is classified as a serious game, specifically a newsgame.

Development and release

The game's design was led by Susana Ruiz as a part of TAKE ACTION games. Then a graduate student at the Interactive Media Program at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, she was inspired to make a game after her nephew told her about a class lesson on the Holocaust that did not mention any modern genocides. She initially proposed a game about the post-Rwandan Genocide gacaca trials, for which she was criticized by colleagues who felt that a game was an inappropriate form to approach a serious topic. She was attending the Games for Change conference in New York City in October 2005, at which mtvU announced that they, in partnership with the Reebok Human Rights Foundation and the non-profit International Crisis Group, were launching the Darfur Digital Activist Contest for a game that would also be an advocacy tool about the situation in the Darfur conflict. Given that mtvU was offering funding and other resources, Ruiz decided to change her original idea.

Ruiz formed a design team and spent two months creating a game design document and prototype. The team spent much of the design phase talking to humanitarian aid workers with...
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