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Government

Redistricting politics - gamer-style

It's not exactly the World of Warcraft, but a group of game developers at the University of Southern California's Annenberg Center hope to get a few high-schoolers hooked on an game that sends a message about the world of politics,reports the Washington Post.Although the name could use a polish, The Redistricting Game makes it easy to understand the mapmakers have a disproportionate impact on how elections come out.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor on

It's not exactly the World of Warcraft, but a group of game developers at the University of Southern California's Annenberg Center hope to get a few high-schoolers hooked on an game that sends a message about the world of politics,reports the Washington Post.

Although the name could use a polish, The Redistricting Game makes it easy to understand the mapmakers have a disproportionate impact on how elections come out. With the click of a mouse, the Redistricting Game allows players to set the borders of congressional districts in fictional states in order to keep the incumbent in office and squash the opponent.

It is appropriate that the Redistricting Game debuts at the fourth annual Games for Change conference at Manhattan's New School. The conference focuses on socially conscious games such as the "virtual activism" in Second Life.

New School president and former senator Bob Kerrey said he has no doubt of games' and virtual worlds' educational potential.

"I'm very much of the opinion that the content of games could be powerful tools for learning," Kerrey said. "To be successful in Warcraft, you've got to be able to organize large groups around the same activity," he said. "That's a skill that has applications after the screen goes dark."

At the conference, Microsoft is scheduled to announce a contest tomorrow for college students worldwide to develop a game based on global warming. Although it is unlikely that a global warming game will bump Warcraft off the charts, a student-designed game based on the plight of Darfur reached more than 1 million players last year.

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