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Where technology and culture collide

Friday, March 06, 2009

State Department Wastes Money On Cell Phone Game

During an economic downturn, the US State Department is wasting $415,000 on a cell phone game designed to convince people in the Middle East to like us. The game is called X-Life, and is given away free (and so far only 120 players have downloaded it). It helps Arabic and Persian speakers learn English, American history and somehow conveys values like "tolerance, freedom and respect of religious differences." Because everyone knows that people get their values from cell phone games. Gimme a break. And give us our $415,000 back.

Comments:

Anonymous Allison said...

I wish you had explored this idea more rather than shooting it down with a comment about "transmitting values" and the "economic downturn." Did you see that this is but one of several methods tested to bridge these two adversarial cultures? You may already be aware of the fact that movies and television programs have a huge impact around the world in terms of foreign opinion on US culture. So does our music, video games and other cultural products.

We have to remember that many of our worst enemies are young people brought up to hate America and Americans in general. We need to address this issue even during a recession. Cell phones are popular among young people, and are more plentiful than computers in the area in which this game is being promoted. 120 players have downloaded the game in the 7 or so days since the release. I'd be interested in knowing if (after they work out the technological glitches) how well it conveys American values.

It's easy to be skeptical, but let's look at all of the factors that go into a decision before knocking it.

Friday, March 06, 2009 6:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I downloaded the game but it will not work unless you have a data service such as GPRS. So it is too costly to use, I email the tech support chaps but no one answered, I think that money is not good enough.

Monday, March 09, 2009 3:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let them hate us, cause I'm gonna hate them back. *American Pride*

Monday, March 09, 2009 8:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Thomas D. said...

There are many positives about spreading tolerance, freedom, and respect of religious differences. The State Department is going to be putting a lot more time and resources into diplomatic efforts with countries and cultures from around the world, especially with the new Obama administration and Secretary of State Clinton leading the way.

I'd be very interested in trying to play this game and see what it's all about.

Have you played it Mike? Don't you think our government wastes a lot more money on countless other projects?

X-Life Games actually sounds like a smart way to engage with the youth of other cultures!

i'll download the game and post another review sometime soon.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009 11:22:00 AM  

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