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3rd World Farmer – serious gaming

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Third World Farmer is a free, online simulator depicting life on an African farm. Originally developed by students in the IT University of Copenhagen, it evolved into its current form with input from professional gamers and relief agencies. The game puts you in charge of an African family who must farm to survive and earn money. Each turn of the game represents a year in which you must plant crops, raise livestock, avoid dodgy foreign investors, survive wars and somehow raise enough money to feed yourself, educate the kids and purchase medicines. The game is very thought provoking and after just a couple of minutes of playing it’s very easy to see how quickly life can go wrong in developing nations. Have a look, it’s well worth your time.

3rd World Farmer is a new kind of game. An experiment in the genre of Serious Games, it aims at simulating the real-world mechanisms that cause and sustain poverty in 3rd World countries. We find this kind of experience efficient at making the issues relevant to people, because players tend to invests their hopes in a game character whose fate depends on him. We aim at making the player “experience” the injustices, rather than being told about them, so as to stimulate a deeper and more personal reflection on the topics.

Dan Ferris is the Red Ferret’s Oceanic correspondent and Associate Editor based in Sydney, Australia. Despite not knowing Russell Crowe or Nicole Kidman, Dan has risen above adversity and now scours the world for interesting tidbits to write about. He spends far too much time photographing stuff and tinkering with computers.

Dan – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


7 Comments

  • Wow, that’s hard work Dan. :-|

  • Absolutely!

  • Oops… when I saw the title I thought it was about gold farmers :P

    It does seem thought-provoking, but also game-like enough to be fun to play.

    […]
    I played it, I lasted 16 turns until all the members died on me :(

  • I lost all my money so they all starved…i couldnt survive in africa

    • Yeah me too. Hard game. Hard life!

  • i won the hole thing with 25,000 left over

  • You play for a few minutes and make a few dollars only to be broke again in the next turn because of theft, war, falling economy, etc. Awesome game.

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