Monday, October 15, 2012

Serious Games: Third World Farmer

A serious game is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment. The "serious" adjective is generally prepended to refer to products used by industries like defense, education, scientific exploration, health care, emergency management, city planning, engineering, religion, and politics.( Wikipedia: Serious Games.)

Serious Games usually have to balance between being "educational" and being "fun". Third World Farmer presents itself as a greatly educational game, promising to teach the player the hardships of maintaining a family in a world full of corruption, war and diseases. But once played, it turns out that it's fairly easy to be successful. And that's exactly why this game is actually pretty fun for an "educational" game.

In the game, the player gets to manage an African farm and is soon confronted with the difficult choices that poverty and conflict can cause.I played it third times in small hours during a day, it really saved many trivial minutes!

The game rules are very simple and could be learned by students at almost any level. Students need to buy crops and other items from the left hand menu. Then they need to place them in the fields. Once they are done buying items, they press the play button and a year of game-play will pass by with flashing months. Then, with whatever money and resources are left, the player repeats the process until the player and his family die, or until the player becomes a successful farmer.

As an ESL teacher, I'll use the game to encourage students read background articles and watch videos, such as Third World: An Introduction in Youtube,and require students take part into discussion about related issues in class twitter. The learning objective is students could recite the information about third world issues in their own organized language. The way to access students' achivements is raising corresponding questions in classroom, such as such as "the story behind Third World Farmer" and  "how could developed countries help third world countries".


  1. You have chosen a very good game for giving students a good background for discussing some very serious world problems.

  2. Hi Zhili, I just got your comment on my page. My email Address is we should discuss what we're going to do/ work on for the presentation!