Darfur is Dying

Release Date: 2006

Developer: interFUEL, LLC

Darfur is Dying provides a window into the experience of refugees in Darfur.



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Darfur is Dying is a web-based, viral video game that provides a window into the experience of the 2.5 million refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan. It is designed to raise awareness of the genocide taking place in Darfur and empower college students to help stop the crisis. Students at the University of Southern California, winners of mtvU’s Darfur Digital Activist contest, created the winning prototype. The game was developed in cooperation with humanitarian aid workers with extensive experience in Darfur.

The content and the creative are woven together throughout the game, beginning with the first phase where the user selects an avatar to forage for water. Upon success or failure, they learn that their chances of succeeding were predetermined by their gender and age. The navigation system at http://www.darfurisdying.com enables a player to learn about the situation in Darfur, get involved with stopping the crisis, and understand the genesis of the project.

Darfur is Dying helps make activism intuitive in the digital age. Action items are embedded within the game, so that the user may send an automated note to President Bush to support the people of Darfur, or petition Congress to pass legislation that aids Darfur’s refugees, and by doing so increase the overall health of the camp. To further enhance the reach of the game, Darfur is Dying was designed to be spread virally. Players can contact everyone in their email address books and social networks about the game with a click of the mouse.

Online/Web (Free)


Reebok Human Rights Foundation

Jason Rzepka




  1. 6
    Total Game Reviews: 1

    I’ve played Darfur is Dying; it is a cognitive interactivity type of model. In order to play this game, I need to pick an avatar and the tasks are to obtain food, build shelter, collect water, and stay healthy. I have to move the arrows button to run and hit space to hide from militias.

    This game is an open system type of game because it intersects with African children being captured by militias, which is currently an ongoing problem in some African countries, and this is the connotation of this game, intending to imply cultural issues.

    In terms of the design it’s alright in discernible area, because it’s clearly indicated to the players that what happens when their avatar get caught, as they try to escape form militias. However, it’s poor in integrated areas. It doesn’t matter how players play, he or she can’t change the result, and therefore the relation between action and outcome is not integrated to the larger context of the game. Thus it’s not a very meaningful play, because what I do, and how I play does not result in game outcomes to create meaning.

    To me that this game is very informative, the messages that it brings to players is very obvious. In my understanding “saving children form militias in Africa.”

  2. 7
    Total Game Reviews: 1

    I felt that this game was successful in engaging an audience and exposing the horrors of genocide without turning audience members away. I particularly think a game format like this would be best utilized on a young audience as the games is not constructed in a way that would hold an adult audience for very long. A more goal driven "camp" area would prompt for exploration of area and direct players in an ideal direction.

  3. 8
    Total Game Reviews: 1

    1. Darfur is Dying is an interactive game that goes no further then 10mins, its reasoning, its not a game, its really life. The stuff that is happening the Darfur region of Sudan is real as lives are being ruthlessly murdered, farmland is being destroyed, and a country is being burnt down by people that want nothing more then to watch people suffer. It’s a crime unlike any other where, as game shows, families are forced to desperately look for needs of food, water, and shelter. Its message is strong, after every completed obstacle, facts detail that struggle that a family in this region of Sudan deal with daily.

  4. 7
    Total Game Reviews: 1

    Darfur is Dying provides a good amount of information on the Darfur crisis. When it comes to how entertaining it is, it might not keep a younger audience involved because of its lack of detail in the actual game play.

  5. 6
    Total Game Reviews: 1

    It is pretty good. I like the idea. But it is hard to get things done. I liked the water foraging activity. But I also think it would be better if the controls were point and click in the village. It’s hard to tell if you have dropped water off, I wasn’t sure how to get food or what to do after I got water.

  6. 8
    Tom Mowbray
    Total Game Reviews: 30

    Very effective depiction of key challenges of refugee survivors in Darfur. Excellent integration of the Take Action steps with the game play. Great idea! Looks well maintained and up to date given that this game was released many years ago during an entirely different administration.

  7. 10
    Total Game Reviews: 2

    Educational and exciting, this is an important game to teach a global issue that needs more exposure.

  8. 6
    Total Game Reviews: 1

    Altough the game has a good purpose it could have focused on a more functional mechanic. Also when the player reaches the second level is not clear how to move forward or what to do exactly, how to do it etc. and there is litle information abou it.

  9. 7
    Total Game Reviews: 1

    In general the game has achieved its main purpose, which was to increase awareness among people about the crisis in Darfur and the situation that people are going through. The game manages to portray realistically the situation in Sudan as well as the dangers of their daily life. The game achieved that using various ways. For instance through tasks, when the player is trying to get water in order to take it back to campus. The challenges that are presented show what really happens when someone is captured by the soldiers (for example women are being raped or men are being tortured). The fact that it is shown how the soldiers treat the refugees helps the player realize how terrible the situation is and that something needs to be done. The ugly part is that if a player wants to entertain himself that’s not possible as the game challenges are not that attractive to capture the interest of the player. Besides its main purpose is not to entertain but to inform and spread to the rest of the world what is going on.

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