By Joe Osborne on Games.com
Now, that's a social game for social good. Happy Oasis, created by Jordan native Suleiman Bakhit, looks to nip Islamic extremism in the bud, the BBC reports. Bakhit made the game, which launched this week to 59 thousand players, in hopes of providing a role model for Arab children who might otherwise be persuaded by extremist views.
While studying at the University of Minnesota in the U.S, Bakhit was attacked by four men shortly after the 9/11 tragedy because he was an Arab, the BBC reports. Bakhit, instead of turning to bitterness, decided to educate Arab kids back home in Jordan through positive comic books, and later Facebook games like Happy Oasis.
His comic books--like one about a female Arab secret agent that dispatches extremists--sold 300 thousand copies alone, prompting Bakhit to the web where 30 million Arabs use Facebook every day. Now, Bakhit looks to take the comic books (and we hope the Facebook game) to Pakistan, where issues of extremism are growing.
"I realized that you fight extremism by starting with the young. The message was simple--'We are not all terrorists'," he told the BBC. "Print media is dying but there are 30 million Arabs on Facebook so I thought about making social games with the same message," Bakhit said.
'Social games for social good' has been a tag line for many a developer. Many Facebook game creators like Zynga offer the power of their audience to make major donations to victims of natural disasters and the like. However, this could be one of the first attempts to use social gaming to alleviate a social issue as divisive as extremism in the Middle East. If this becomes an answer to the growing social problems in that part of the world, it's not just another win for Facebook games, but for the Arab community.
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