I wanted to create an innovative and creative way of teaching peace…
In 2016, I returned to MPI’s Annual Peacebuilding Training for the second time, this time as a KAICIID International Fellow1. During the Fellows Programme, KAICIID gave me the opportunity to develop and implement a small-scale initiative.
My initiative is Dialogue for Peace Game Application Program. Through this, I developed a game app called DIALOGIC. I made this game because, first, I am concerned there are so many games that promote violence on the net. Gaming habits can change people psychologically (cognitive, affection, behavior).2 Secondly, peace training is typically of interest to adults or those who feel they need the training. Many people think we do not need peace training because we already live in peace and peace training is such a boring subject.
For these reasons, I wanted to create an innovative and creative way of teaching peace so people from any gender, status and age can join in. Through this, people can learn peaceful dialogue in a fun and easy way. Participating in a formal peacetraining program can be expensive. People may not have the time to join such a training as well. In addition, we often do not know whether participants will implement what they learned.
This game application offers a peace training every day and anytime one wants. We can conduct monitoring and evaluation directly through user feedback. This kind of gaming will affect participants in a positive way. If video games can reinforce violent behavior or attitudes, why not have games that reinforce peace? We only need the tool to make it happen.
I had to do research before creating the game. At first, I wanted to create a game in which the characters show different religions. This was too risky and would be a sensitive area for many people. Then I wanted to create a game with characters from different ethnic backgrounds, but that could appear to be racist.
I created five different mythical characters for this game: the dwarf, the siren, the human, the satyr, and the elf. The characters find themselves in situations of conflict. Players have to finish the game by solving the conflicts in a peaceful way.
The conflicts are based on the seven levels of conflict escalation. To solve the conflict, players need to finish a match three puzzle. In the puzzle, there are icons of wisdom, intelligence, empathy, and bravery. I chose the icons based on what our team learned of ancient European and Greek history. We based these decisions on target market pre-research and contextual learning.
There is still much to do. I want to create an online version of the game so participants can do peace negotiation with other participants online. I want to develop a game that is more fun. However, since I only had four months to finish the game, I had to make it as simple as possible.
Working with many people to create a game app was not easy. I had to accommodate many people since we work in groups. There were the programmer desk, the art desk, the field desk, the sound and effect desk, the video desk, and music composer, just to name some of those involved. On top of this, creating a game app is expensive.
I know it is not perfect, and I realize that there are some weaknesses in this game. I have tried my best to finish the project I had in my mind and make it a reality. Still, I am not completely satisfied with my work. I know if I have more resources that I can make a great game app.
I need a year to upload it to the iTunes Store (Apple). Those are Apple's rules.
I still have many "crazy" ideas for promoting peace!
1. The KAICIID International Fellows Programme is a one-year learning and training program that empowers institutions that train future religious leaders by providing capacity-building to select teachers. The aim is to facilitate dialogue encounters by giving these teachers the tools, experience, networks and knowledge to pursue interreligious dialogue and further be able to prepare their own students to become facilitators and leaders in interreligious dialogue. In addition to interreligious dialogue training, the fellows will also learn how to train their own students in conflict transformation so as to be active peacemakers in their respective communities.
2. McLean, L and Griffiths, M. (2013). The psychological effects of videogames on young people: A review. Aloma, 31(1), 119-133. Retrieved from http://www.raco.cat/index.php/Aloma/article/viewFile/266790/354412