Who said gaming has no real world value?
Mashable.com, the online technology/entertainment news site, recently wrote a report on an online game called Funky Nurse. It was developed by Miniclip and the UK-based charity Teenage Cancer Trust. The player takes the role of a nurse in a cancer care unit and must do whatever possible to help keep the patients happy. This includes everything from taking them to entertainment rooms to finding upgrades for the hospital. The game is meant not just for entertainment purposes, but also for education: Both on the disease and the charity.
At the end of each level, players are given statistics about cancer amongst teens in the UK. The Mashable story lists one of the statistics: “Every day in the UK, six young people aged 13 to 24 are told they have cancer. That's about 2,100 per year." Players are then given the option of learning more about Teenage Cancer Trust before moving onto the next level. The game is currently played by 65 million people on Miniclip.com, giving the charity a lot of visibility.
This is not the first time gaming has been use to advance a cause. The annual Games For Change conference is devoted to giving developers a platform to showcase games that are meant to serve a purpose beyond simple entertainment. NPT covers this conference every year, most recently when we covered Al Gore's keynote address at this year's event.
If you want to learn more about Funky Nurse, read the full article over at Mashable.