Free Video Game to Spread AIDS Prevention Message in Kenya

Warner Bros. and the U.S. government are delivering a free multiplayer PC game to Kenya in hopes it will change HIV risk perception, attitude and behavior there.

The game, developed by Virtual Heroes, Inc. is called "Pamoja Mtaani." (which means, "Together in the Hood.") It follows five strangers as they work their way through East African settings. The game's story calls for them to recover items the characters either lost or had stolen, but the layout of its missions and mini-games is designed to show them barriers to, and opportunities for, behavior and attitude change on this subject.

The game is launching in youth centers in Nairobi. It's a five-person multiplayer game playable over LAN, and features music by Kenyan hip-hop artists. All five of the characters will be introduced by trailers, similar to the marketing you see for major retail games.

This sounds like the nutritious-and-delicious paradox, that something intended to do a social good can't possibly be fun. But, as described, this is a serious effort being put into a serious subject. And it shows games can be active partners in effecting social change, as have been other forms of art down through history.

Warner Bros Launching AIDS Prevention Video Game [Variety]