PeaceMaker: Deactivation and Reactivation Functionality

In answer to many people’s comments and support issues we are pleased to provide our customers with this new functionality. The patch below will work for anyone purchasing a copy of PeaceMaker that does not already have integrated this new functionality. We understand everyones desire to be able to have flexibility with software they purchase and we are glad to finally provide that. This should also make it easier for educational institutions that are continuously re-imaging their computer labs.

New Patch: Deactivation and Reactivation Functionality
We have recently added new functionality to allow our users to deactivate and reactivate copies of PeaceMaker in order to move them from computer to computer. Please be sure to use the deactivation tool before uninstalling. If you own the online version (v1.068 and earlier) or the CD version (physical copy) feel free to install this patch for PC or Mac. You do not need this patch if you own a later version of PeaceMaker. DO NOT use this patch if you have the Peres Center version.

Playing to the Masses

We have been lucky to have attracted significant publicity to our products.  Much of it is drawn from the fact that PeaceMaker and Play the News are inherently so different than the old-fashioned public perception of video games.  Politicians, parents and non-profits constantly deride the medium for being a “time waster,” “violent and shallow,” or even accuse it of being “a silent epidemic among our children” (Senator Clinton).  What would make a better feel-good story than a game about peace in the Middle East or Web games that connect people to headlines?

But such debates tend to be overly black and white.  I like this story in The Guardian, not only because it highlights us, but because it presents how much it’s not only about “shallow vs. deep” or “violent vs. peaceful,” but about a real passion to diversify the interactive audience and present new models to think about:

“Mainstream videogames may have all but conquered the 18-34 male demographic, and proven extremely pervasive throughout others, but their social stigma persists. One of the most obvious reasons for this – and one of the key points of the Byron Review ( – is the vast “generational gap” between gamers and non-gamers. Of course, this argument implies it’s just a matter of time before MP Keith Vaz sits down to a game of Grand Theft Auto VII, but Burak believes that before this can ever be achieved, we need to “dismantle the notion of the ‘gamer'”. “If you think about it,” he says, “you won’t call someone a ‘radio listener’, or ‘TV viewer’ – I mean, you might, but everyone is, right? Everyone is a filmgoer. This idea that people are ‘gamers’ is going to have to change. Everyone should be a gamer!”

As game developers and “gamers” shouldn’t we be happy that more people enjoy our medium?  When guests visit me I love getting the Wii out, creating a Mii for them and letting them wave the remote.  Especially for those who never tried it before – their eyes widen, their jaws drop and suddenly they realize that if they are not careful they could easily end up “gamers” themselves.

(Guest Post) How Do I Use PeaceMaker? by Dr. Stephen Sulzbacher

I use the “Peacemaker” game to help students in my graduate seminar understand the limits on actions of world leaders, and to teach how to see conflict from the viewpoint of the opponent and bystander. My course examines the contemporary use of violence by States and non-state agents.

Behavioral scientists and educators are trained to view conflict differently from soldiers or diplomats, so we learn to apply psychological principles to the analysis of terrorism and terrorist networks. We apply principles of conflict resolution to understanding global conflict, using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a primary example.

The course is structured around a “Peacemaker” lab each week, followed by a weekly lecture. My students work in teams to learn how to be effective consultants within governmental and non-governmental (NGO) agencies.

Why PeaceMaker costs money (contd)

I recently was invited to write something for the Huffington Post and thought it would be a great venue to continue my thoughts on the subject raised in Why PeaceMaker costs money?

If you found the previous discussion interesting please have a look at this new post. Again it was difficult not to go into the many facets of my thoughts on this subject, especially in a short post, but I brought up some other issues that are interesting to me. As always I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

(Guest Post) Peacemaker in My Class: Dr. Ronit Kampf

I am teaching at the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. My course compares online and face-to-face coexistence activities aimed at bridging between young people living on different sides of the political, ethnic and religious divides in the Middle East. This course is based upon 3 years of work as a postdoc student at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University.

Given that my course examines peace building processes among Israeli and Palestinian youths, I thought to let my students explore how Peacemaker can be utilized for this purpose. In order to learn more deeply about Peacemaker, the students played the game a few times. Then we analyzed various apsects of Peacemaker such as photos and videos used to capture events, startegies that can be taken by the Israeli prime minister and by the Palestinian president to achieve peace, and the design of the Israeli version vs. the Palestinian version.

After learning more about the game, my students had to decide how they want to use Peacemaker in their final class assignment. One student decided to run the game among Israeli-Jew and Palestinian high school pupils from East and West Jerusalem. She wants to examine how the game impacts attitudes toward the complexity of the conflict and toward the “other side”. Another student chose to run the game among Israeli and American students in order to estimate the impact of knowledge about the conflict on playing Peacemaker. Two of my students analyze the photos used in the game in order to explore how Israelis and Palestinians are represented in Peacemaker. Another student develops an activity that can be conducted among high school pupils before and after playing the game. After my students submit their final class assignments on March 2008, we can publish short posts about them.

For the aforementioned class assignments, I developed a platform together with Tom Calthrop from Barnraiser, a Swedish based non-profit organization dedicated to giving people the tools they need to share knowledge and advance society through social software. This platform includes a discussion forum, a resource center and a notes wall. The students contribute information to this platform and further elaborate it as they make progress in their work.

All the aforementioned process could not happen without the team that created Peacemaker and the Peres Center for Peace that distributed copies of the game in Israel and the West Bank.

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.”

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).

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.