Help Fight HIV/AIDS with a New Video Game Concept Print E-mail
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Written by Christophor "SuperGuido" Rick   
Thursday, 25 January 2007

[News]

Zooming through veins blasting away at viral particles? Maybe Trauma Center: The HIV Wars? Who knows, but whatever the best game idea comes out to be in the competition it will get $75,000 in financial backing.

mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, and the Kaiser Family Foundation today announced the “Change the Course of HIV Challenge” – a competition offering college students digital tools to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS among young people in the United States. The challenge asks gamers, activists or any student with a great idea to propose a viral, Web-based video game concept to help raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among 15-24 year olds in the US and to promote personal action in response to the epidemic. The winning individual or team will work with mtvU and the Kaiser Family Foundation – which are committing $75,000 to the development and marketing of the game – to see their idea realized.

This is an interesting thought really. We have used things like comics, television, radio, billboards and now video games to spread public awareness messages in the past so why not have a game specifically tailored to do just that? Hell why not a whole series of games that, while you play them, also do something good like raise awareness, money or processing power to help make the world a healthier safer place.

“The competition is designed to help us reach young people in a different and engaging way to help inform them about HIV/AIDS and spur action,” said Tina Hoff, Vice President and Director, Entertainment Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation. “As HIV remains the great public health challenge of this generation, it’s essential to find new and creative ways to engage and inform young people about the epidemic.”

mtvU and the Kaiser Family Foundation are looking for innovative, interactive concepts for video games that will spread rapidly online. Proposed projects should raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among young people in the US, identify ways to stop its spread, and address the silence, stigma and discrimination surrounding the disease. The challenge is open to college students nationwide and the deadline for submissions is March 16th, 2007. For more information and to submit an idea, please visit mtvU.com.

The “Change the Course of HIV Challenge” follows on the success of Darfur is Dying, a student-developed, viral video game – now played more than 2 million times by over 1 million people – and a key element of mtvU’s Emmy Award-winning Sudan campaign. “Darfur is Dying” is a narrative-based simulation where the user, from the perspective of a displaced Darfurian, negotiates forces that threaten the survival of his or her refugee camp.

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