Developed by Palestinians and Israelis

We have received the following note from Samer Abbas:

“Good day, First, I’d like to commend you for this noble endeavor. I’d like to ask how do you guarantee that PeaceMaker is not biased if you don’t have team members from the other side of the conflict at least in an advisory position? Do you feel that your pursuit of peace transcends blood ties and kinsmanship enough to make you value blood from both sides equally? This is probably more of a question to the game concept creator and game designer. Thanks for your time”.

Great questions. My answer was that we actually have several advisors from the Palestinian side, most notably Hanadie Yousef and Rana El-Hindi who helped us in forming that perspective. You can watch Hanadie in the video below. We also met with several Palestinian organizations in the US that gave us feedback and challenged some of our prior assumptions. We made a lot of efforts to stay unbiased and balanced. Creating two different games (Palestinian version and Israeli version) certainly helped.

The second question is thoughtful and intriguing, but becomes hypothetical. If I have to, I would say that no- the pursuit of peace is not enough in my eyes. An intimate understanding of both perspectives is required to portray a realistic picture and dive into the deep concerns of the stakeholders. From what we gathered during our process, getting familiar with the other side in a meaningful manner is perhaps the first step towards a real dialog. The two sides could disagree, but at least they understand what both care for on the way to a possible compromise.

Preparation for Launch

As our launch approaches we are making some changes to improve our systems. One of the changes will be to relocate our blog. We are very interested in what you have to say and do not want to risk losing any registrations or comments in the transition. Due to this we will be locking the blog for registration and comments until we are sure the transfer is completed. If you would like to post something please check back in the very near future (a day or two).

Back from Sundance (or: "informative" vs. "educational")

We just came back from the Sundance Film Festival after sitting on a panel on independent video games. The response of the audience to the idea of positive/independent/serious games was excellent and we got a lot of traffic on our websites (10x than the usual). At the same time, it seems to me that we’re only at the beginning of the struggle with perception and conventions.

For one thing, I can’t understand why a meaningful game like “PeaceMaker” is automatically labeled as an “educational simulation”. Yes, it may be a great tool in the classroom, but why not beyond that? PeaceMaker should be treated as a non-fiction book, a graphic novel (eg “Maus”) or a social impact documentary (eg “An Inconvenient Truth”). These are consumed by the mainstream. Yes, they are informative and serious but thanks to the maturity of the medium they became part of our leisure time. People watch TV news and learn about the world. No one calls this an “educational experience”. I really hope that video games will soon achieve the same level of maturity and acceptance so we can really break the boundaries of “fun and shallow”.

PeaceMaker Launch: Febraury 2007

As you might have seen on our homepage – we have announced our release for February 2007. We are excited to finally be putting our product in the public’s hands. The final version of the game has gotten very positive reviews from a range of beta-testers. Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and patience, we promise you all – it’s a matter of days.

We were invited to present our game at the National Conference of the World Affairs Councils of America (Feb 1st). The conference runs from Feb 1st to 4th featuring discussions on the Middle-East with figures such as Secretary of State Rice, Suzanne Mubarak and Ambassador Dennis Ross. This will be the first of many roll-out events and should be a great venue for expanding the awareness for and getting feedback on our game.

Ashoka's Entrepreneuring Peace Contest

Last month we submitted our entry to the Ashoka peace contest. It is a fascinating opportunity. The process is fully visible so one can browse all 158 entries from 42 countries, participate in the open discussion and even vote for the finalists (begins Jan 31).

You can read all about the contest here: and check their criteria and the mosaic of solutions they put together. It is great to be included with such an impressive list of initiatives that cover all aspects of peacemaking – education, public policy, dialog, technology and more. For those of you who are not familiar with Ashoka- their model of supporting and promoting social entrepreneurs is also unique and worth exploring.

Another Voice at ImpactGames

In introduction, my name is Joe Stafura, the individual responsible for the daily advancement of the marketing and sales efforts here at ImpactGames.

I met Eric and Asi through my friend and partner Bill Recker, who is an investor and board member in ImpactGames, last summer. A few meetings later, I joined them on a daily basis to help with the startup process and my excitement has been growing ever since.
Since joining ImpactGames my oldest son, JZ and I have worked together on market research and analysis for Peacemaker and had many conversations about the bigger idea of the game. The following is what he wrote concerning some of those talks.

“PeaceMaker is a little game about a very big idea. Peace. What it takes to create peace. What it takes to maintain peace. And here at Impact Games, we’re not shy about believing that our little game can make a difference. You can’t be timid when you’re a PeaceMaker.

PeaceMaker is more than a game. It’s an idea. A structure. A force. A worldview. A community. A gathering place to determine how to view and change the world. And as a title, “PeaceMaker” refers to the best in people, to their honesty and courage, and to their unwavering drive to better themselves and the world around them.

Do you wanna be a PeaceMaker?

The ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes, to feel their happiness and their pain as an extension of your own; the ability to empathize with the humanity close you, and that far away, is perhaps the most significant skill one can develop in this modern world. Much interpersonal conflict, regional strife, and geopolitical struggle can be traced to the root cause of a misunderstanding of worldviews, or a denial of the other side’s view completely. To find a kernel of common ground among the fiercest antagonists is the first step towards the larger schemas of compromise, collaboration, and mutual respect. To see yourself in the mirror of national and social boundaries is to find restraint, if only for a moment, which may provide just enough of a window to recognize another path: that of a PeaceMaker.”

JZ Stafura

PeaceMaker 1.0 in Three Languages

This is a surprise we kept until now: the first version of PeaceMaker will be available in Arabic, Hebrew and English. We felt it enforces our gameplay concepts and strengthens the multiple point-of-views in our content. In any case, we are post-Beta and in the final weeks of development. More news coming very soon…