A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this simulation lets kids become an emergency aid worker trying to save a country from starvation. It creates a powerful experience for children without overwhelming them. At one point, they will be driving a truck full of food when they are stopped by armed rebel forces. Kids will be given choices of what to say to talk their way through to the blockade -- will they bluff their way through or tell the truth about what is in their trucks?
What's it about?
FOOD FORCE gives kids ages 8 to 13 a better understanding of how relief organizations operate. Produced by the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP), Food Force is a free Internet download at www.food-force.com. Kids join a crack team of emergency aid workers racing to save the fictitious island of Sheylan from starvation caused by drought and civil war. The team goes on six missions to help save Sheylan, each beginning with a briefing by an emergency aid character.
Kids play a hands-on game to score enough points to complete each mission. For example, in the first mission, kids pilot a helicopter by using the computer mouse, earning points by locating refugees. The additional missions cleverly use games to demonstrate how emergency aid teams acquire food, make food packs, deliver food, and establish long-term food supplies.
Is it any good?
When kids complete all six missions, they can upload their cumulative score to an international database found on the Food Force Web site. The site also provides information about how kids can help fight hunger, and it allows them to explore more about the work of the WFP. Teachers will find lesson plans that incorporate the game.
Food Force effectively reaches tweens and teens with 3-D graphics and characters that resemble those in popular commercial titles. By using video gaming to create a dynamic learning environment, kids feel as if they're a part of the team who saved Sheylan. The WFP's free video game helps to bring closer to home the problem of world hunger, which often is thousands of miles away.
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