Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nuclear Weapons: The Peace Dove Game

When a child discovers and completely comprehends the horror of nuclear weapons on their own, it is a difficult matter for any parent to address. My seven year old daughter saw the nuclear explosion scene in the new Indiana Jones movie and instantly became terrified of nuclear weapons. I have been distracting her from it with lots of hugs and by giving her other things to think about, but telling her we probably won’t ever be nuked in our lifetimes was just not working.

I realized I had to educate her (and myself) about nuclear weapons and nuclear power to help her overcome her fears. I am hoping by teaching her about them (their history, which countries have them, and what people are doing to get rid of them, etc.), she will develop a better understanding of the situation, and overcome her fear. Maybe someday she (and the rest of her generation) will do something about getting rid of them. Too bad our generation could not.

While searching the Games for Social Changes web site, I discovered a game called Nuclear Weapons: The Peace Dove Game.

This game was too old for my daughter to play, but it was an easy enough game for me to play and learn about which countries have nuclear weapons. Several people and organizations have received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts concerning nuclear weapons disarmament. Worldwide, the white dove is a symbol for peace. In this game, you take on the mission to disarm the world of nuclear weapons! You have eight "Peace Doves" to help you, each able to disarm one of eight countries possessing nuclear weapons.

When you activate a peace dove in the game, they get into a conversation with the other peace doves through a series of speeach bubbles on the screen. These conversations really are a means to present various facts about nuclear non-proliferation like the one shown here about the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

After the conversation ends, you are presented with a fact about the country the peace dove will target and disarm.

You pick a destination for the peace dove on a world map and "Launch" the peace dove when you're ready to send it on its mission. If you fail to send a dove to its proper destination, you get to repeat the procedure from the beginning. You have only two chances! If you manage to send a dove to its proper destination, you simply go to the next dove in line.

At the end of the game you are provided a summary of the countries that have nuclear weapons and how many weapons they possess.

Overall, this is a very educational game with a strong message in support of nuclear non-proliferation. You learn about various non-proliferation treaties, about which countries have signed (or have not signed) the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and how many nuclear weapons each country has. As for for drawbacks, it was hard to read the text-based clues for determining the targets for the peace doves. The game appears to be outdated too - I am certain there are more than eight countries with nuclear weapons now. The main problem with this game is that it really can only be played once. Once you finish the game, you know all the answers.


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