"I Made Peace"

We’ve received a note today from Rolf Burton and he kindly allowed us to post it in its entirety. The subject of the Blog post is the subject of his email – “I Made Peace”:

“I was at the Sundance Film Festival. That’s where I found out about the game. The most surprising thing that came from my experience with the video game Peacemaker was when the game ended and I created peace. I knew fully well what game I was playing and what my objective was but when peace was actually achieved it was such a weird feeling. I mean there isn’t supposed to be peace in that region right? We all want peace but do we believe it is possible?

I can say after playing the game and finding a solution I know that subconsciously I was certain that peace was not an option. When peace was achieved and I learned ways that it could happen my whole paradigm for the region changed. I realized that even though I am someone that would like to see peace in the Israeli-Palestine conflict, in actuality I did not think it was possible until after playing this game. Many times parents or colleagues will tell you to achieve something but most of the times have no idea what the process is to achieve that goal. And then people feel bad never achieving those grand goals they were told to achieve. It’s similar to saying we want peace in the Middle East but then no one ever attempts any of the paths that could create peace.

Learning with Peacemaker how many different paths to peace already exist reminded me of this quote I had cut out of a magazine that read “Oh God, I do not pray to you for peace for you have already provided us with so many ways if only we would follow them”. If anything Peacemaker shows the player that peace is actually possible. It’s the most important first step in creating peace. Believing its actually possible. May I suggest your next game focus on a solution to improving democracy in the United States.”

Peaceware

Some people asked us about PeaceWare and if we moved into the fashion business… it actually started by accident. We created t-shirts for the team with the title “I Wanna Be a PeaceMaker” (ala “I Wanna Be a Producer”) and people liked them. We wore them to our meeting with Arun Gandhi in Washington DC and in our Pittsburgh office and passers-by actually wanted to purchase them. So diligent Patrick designed some peace items for us and we uploaded them to Cafepress. Our office is now packed with PeaceMaker mugs, shirts and bags. Peace is cool.

Open for Comments

Due to public demand we changed the PM Blog policy, so you don’t have to register in order to post a comment on the Blog. Apparently anti-spam filters were blocking some of our password/confirmation emails. If you encounter such a problem please send a support email to us and we will make sure to send you a password. Marco Boltz from Germany wanted to post this positive comment:

“Thanks ImpactGames for this wonderful game. Despite the every day news it gives hope that maybe someday Israelis and Palestinians and all the other people in this area can and will live in peace. I read about this game in a German newspaper and almost immediately bought and downloaded it from your website. It took me about 2 hours to finish it successfully on the highest level of difficulty as the Palestinian President. Never had such a happy and satisfying game experience. I will play it again as the Israeli Prime Minister. Even though this may sound naive and even though real people of this conflict don’t have the save- and load-button, I’m sure as long as everyone puts the same effort and passion into achieving a peaceful solution as most players of this game, we will see the friendly co-existence of these two states. Thanks again!”

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: http://www.changemakers.net/journal/peace/ 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.

Thanking The Community

We had the honor of being on a panel associated with the Gandhi Institutes 100 year anniversary of Mahatma’s first public commitment to non-violent resistance ( 9/11/1906 ). It was an amazing event attended by a variety of people. Arun Gandhi, Mahatma’s grandson, and founder of the institute witnessed our efforts and offered us this quote in endorsement of what we are trying to do:

Since the time I spent with my Grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi, I have had the opportunity to observe many efforts by individuals from many countries to promote peace. In my opinion Peacemaker is ground breaking in both its conception and execution. This exceptionally creative and relevant video game will further concepts of conflict resolution and peacemaking and bring important new audiences into the fold. Congratulations to the Peacemaker team!

Arun Gandhi, Founder, MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence

It is humbling to think that our efforts are being recognized by people representing groups that we respect for the work they are doing. I am choosing to respond to this and post it not only because it is a great quote but because it is a glimpse into the types of moments that keep us motivated. One of the driving forces behind pushing ahead with this project and starting our company was the interest and support of all different types of people from around the world. On a day when you are having doubts it is invaluable to receive an email like the following:

“I’d just like to express my gratitude for you doing this kind of video-game. It’s really exactly what you need to make people understand the situation in the Middle East from a totally new perspective – in a objective and neutral way. Both in the entire world, and especially the two involved countries themselves. Fantastic job, KEEP IT UP!!! :) It really made me happy to see your passion for this subject.”

I just grabbed this one randomly, but it represents the tone of many of the inquiries. I just want to thank everyone who has written to us giving us motivation and support in what we are doing.

Mailing List Update

Yesterday we sent an update to our mailing list (1200+ subscribers), introducing our online survey and mentioning our future presentation at the Sundance Film Festival (January 20th, Park City). The exciting opportunity was initiated by Games for Change. If you haven’t, you might want to check them out or subscribe to their discussion list which covers many similar initiatives in the field of social and political games. I also know they are expanding and looking for some new managers.