Sharing News Games

As mentioned in the previous post, we just introduced this feature. Below each game on the Play the News portal you will find a section called “Share This Game”. You may post any game to your website or blog using the iframe embed tag. For embedding the game, please note: because they have fixed dimensions of 600 x 450, you may need to adjust your website or blog’s width to accommodate a more pleasing layout. Here is a sample for the PA Democratic Primary:

PlayTheNews is Now Live!

The closed beta is formally over and is now open to the public. During the closed beta period we had 340 members who provided us with invaluable feedback and showed outstanding participation. We plan to continue to improve, update, and introduce new features to the site in the future so keep your suggestions coming. We know there are many more things we could add to make the site even better but it’s time to push the fledging out of its nest.

If you (like us) are enjoying active participation in the news, and think others will too, please help us spread the word. Many of you have asked if you could share your log-in with others or could invite others into the community, and now is the time. We added a “Share This Game” feature, so just like a YouTube video, anyone can embed our Flash games into their personal blogs or websites, as well as link to them from popular social networking and news aggregation sites (e.g. Digg, Facebook, Google).

The site is free of charge to end-users. We are excited to let you know that two top-tier media partners are planning to launch PlayTheNews on their site in the following weeks bringing even more content to the community. As promised, we have added all registered users to our iPhone raffle. We will conduct the drawing in the following days, and one of you lucky participants will be contacted with the good news.

We want to thank the community again for the amazing feedback and participation. We hope you will continue to Play the News, keeping our community vibrant and engaged. Feel free to keep sending feedback to us directly. Due to the success of the forum, we’ve decided to leave it open for future comments.

The ImpactGames team

Call for Beta Testers!

In February we are launching a closed beta of our new online product: Play the News, imagine if you will Fantasy Sports meets the Evening News. As a player you can choose your role and participate in a variety of real events: domestic, global, serious news as well as softer issues and entertainment. You can gain a deeper understanding of the day’s headlines while voicing your opinion. You will be measured vs. reality as well as against the performance of other community members.

To make it a bit more interesting for those of you that choose to help us out we will be giving away an iPhone to one lucky participant. Just by signing up you have a chance to win. Perform well on the platform to raise your chances.

If you would like to take part and help us in shaping this unique product, please use the contact form. If possible and you feel verbose, we’d love to hear in 1-2 sentences who you are, and why you are interested to join. We apologize in advance if we can’t accommodate everyone, as it is a limited beta. In any case, your personal data is guaranteed and will not be used for any other purpose, not now and not in the future.

Game Tunnel's Awards

We’ve mentioned Game Tunnel in the past as a good source on independent games. They are closing 2007 with their “Game of the Year” awards in various categories. PeaceMaker has won 3rd place in the ‘Sim Games’ category (the 1st place went to Venture Arctic by Pocketwatch Games). Here is Game Tunnel’s take on our work:

“Peacemaker brings players into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by placing them at the head of either of the two sides involved. Though it is just a game, Peacemaker dreams of being more and is being used as a teaching tool to help people understand just how complicated the struggle for peace is, with the hope of helping the real-world peace process. While most educational games tend to feel more like school than fun, Peacemaker gets everything right. It is captivating in every sense of the word, and inspirational, staying true to the situation and providing hours of gripping and entertaining gameplay.”

Another open position – Content Writer and Manager

Edit 1.15 – this position is no longer open, thanks for all the applications!

This time around we are looking for a creative writer to lead, manage and write content for our online interactive experiences. The candidate should have a mastery of textual writing as well as the ability to attach visual and audible references to their work. We would require interested candidates to submit examples of their previous work in a range of fields, such as: fiction, non-fiction, technical writing, video games and/or journalism. We are looking for dedicated individuals with deep understanding and immersion in current events on diverse topics: Global, US, entertainment, technology, business and more. Please note that the application process will include a writing test on a selected topic/s. To Apply please send your cover letter and resume to jobs (at)

Boston Globe on Peace Studies

The Boston Globe reports on a peace studies course for ninth-graders in the Hillside school, Marlborough. Course activities include keeping a “neutrality” media log, exploring famous peacemakers, learning negotiation techniques and… playing PeaceMaker. One of the students said on the interview: “[PeaceMaker] was a little bit difficult, you did one thing that made someone happy, but it made someone else unhappy.” This feedback regarding the harsh realities of leadership is something we hear a lot. It’s always interesting to see how different it is to explore this from the leader’s chair (rather than the TV couch).

PeaceMaker on Fox Live

PeaceMaker was featured on Fox Live this past Sunday as a follow up to the Annapolis Summit and the give-away of 100k games in Israel and the Palestinian territories. It is a positive piece, but what I couldn’t convey is that it’s really a team effort, and how much dedication, hard work and passion went into the creation of the game during the two years of production. Besides the development team at ImpactGames we received incredible support from content experts (Americans, Palestinians and Israelis), people who tested the game for us, advisers, industry veterans and of course the faculty and students at the Entertainment Technology Center of Carnegie Mellon (where it all began).

Protest against Violent Video Games

An interesting report coming from CBS-Portland around the holidays. The video shows a small crowd standing in front of Toys ‘R Us, demonstrating against violent video games and offering alternatives- games that promote non-violence and are socially or politically conscious. You can actually see the list of these games on the demonstrators’ signs. I swear we had nothing to do with that…

Press Release: 100,000 Israelis & Palestinians to Play PeaceMaker

The Peres Center for Peace Partners with ImpactGames to Distribute 100,000 Free PeaceMaker Video Games in the Mideast

Pittsburgh and Tel Aviv, November 21, 2007 — With the Mideast Peace Summit in Annapolis, Maryland just days away, 100,000 Israelis and Palestinians living in the actual conflict zone are about to try their hands at solving the peace puzzle—one game at a time. In an unprecedented giveaway, the Peres Center for Peace is distributing 100,000 free copies of the interactive game PeaceMaker to people in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

PeaceMaker is an award-winning interactive game that allows players to get inside the unpredictable politics of peace, discovering firsthand the huge challenges of leading a country, a people, and an international process. PeaceMaker players must choose to play either as the Israeli Prime Minister or Palestinian President. In the course of a typical game, players encounter real-life incidents affecting the Mideast, from protests and political pressures to violent acts, and the player must decide what to do next in order to achieve a virtual peace.

Approximately 75,000 copies will be sent to subscribers of the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz on November 27, with 10,000 copies of the game distributed through the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds. An additional 15,000 copies of PeaceMaker will be distributed to Palestinian and Israeli high school classrooms and taught by specially trained teachers in the coming months.

“Since we first got the idea for PeaceMaker, it has been our hope to put this game in the hands of people who live with the real conflict every day, so they can play as the other side. With this game, the people can succeed where politicians and leaders have failed until now–bringing peace to the Middle-East,” says Asi Burak, co-founder of ImpactGames. “We are so grateful to the Peres Center; their high reputation, educational expertise and outreach to community groups in Israel and Palestine made this project possible.”

“It’s significant that the PeaceMaker giveaway in the Mideast is happening around the peace summit, but also at a time of year when millions of Westerners begin their holiday shopping by purchasing games where war, violence and conflict are central points of the game. To win at PeaceMaker, you have to cooperate with the other side and reach an understanding; you must challenge any prior knowledge or assumptions you have about the Mideast conflict,” says Eric Brown, CEO of ImpactGames.

Leading a new breed of games that are based on current events, PeaceMaker was created by a former Israeli Army Intelligence Corps captain, Asi Burak, and American Eric Brown, who met at Carnegie Mellon University’s prestigious Entertainment Technology program. They created PeaceMaker with a panel of Palestinian and Israeli consultants and launched the game earlier this year. PeaceMaker is the first in a line of news-oriented games the Pittsburgh-based company is developing and is available in English, Hebrew and Arabic.