Advergames: Darfur is Dying

This week in class we looked at advertising games, typically called Advergames. These games in particular are advertising some sort of product or company. Business Dictionary formally defines the advergames as:

A videogame which in some way contains an advertisement for a product, service, or company. Some advergames are created by a company with the sole purpose of promoting the company itself or one of its products, and the game may be distributed freely as a marketingtool.

So with that said, it seems reasonable to find that advergames are really popular. You may see a lot of advertising in games, like when you lose a level in a game and you have to wait for the ad to pass before you can continue playing.

Example of an Advertisement in a Game
Example of an Advertisement in a Game

But advertising in a game is completely different than advergames. Advergames involve the company itself and they use specific products in the game itself. Advertisements in a game only showcase specific products, like the picture above, in that case it was another app developed by that same company.

In class we specifically played a game called Darfur is Dying. In this game you go are a native of Darfur, and you have to go find water and use that water to grow crops in the village. While you are out getting water, you have to avoid the rebel group that will capture you. Once you are captured, you cannot play that character. So if you successfully get water back to the village, you go around to deliver the water to grow seed for food. But there is always a threat of attack on the village by the rebel forces.

The game itself is advertising that the player does something about the problem in Darfur. There is a red bar that appears occasionally that says “Take Action” and a green “Go.”  When you click on that red bar it gives you options on what action you can take; you can send a message to Obama, ask your representative to support the people of Darfur, you can start a divestment movement on campus and find more ways to get involved.

The Options to Take Action

Now some might not put this game in the advergame category itself, but the game is advertising the situation in Darfur and what you can do about it. The fact the it gives you options on what to do puts the game itself in that category.

Throughout the semester, we have played other advertising games, like the McDonalds Video Game. But Darfur is Dying really fits the category because it advertising that you do something, the specific product.

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