Peace, Conflict, and Empathy: Leveraging Violent Games for Global Good

  • Paul Darvasi


Video games have emerged from the morally suspect margins of society to become a cornerstone of the global entertainment industry. Their potency as a cultural force is such that noted media scholar Dr. Henry Jenkins believes that video games will be the defining art form of the twenty-first century (Smithsonian, The art of video games exhibition trailer, 2012). Healthcare organizations, corporations, the military, NGOs, schools, and universities are all experimenting with video games for their propensity to train, teach, and motivate. In a twist of irony, a medium once labeled a “murder simulator” might now become an effective tool to support peace education and conflict resolution. This chapter will review a handful of digital games set in zones of global conflicts for their potential to produce empathy and ultimately support the work of peace. Despite promising findings, the links between digital games and empathy continue to be tenuous. Interactions between humans and digital games are complex, and nuanced emotions like empathy are a challenge to measure accurately, particularly when seeking to understand longitudinal effects.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Darvasi
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal St. George’s CollegeYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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