‘World Game’ will deal with global issues

By Ken Goze

Students can witness complete nuclear destruction Wednesday when “The World Game,” a large-scale role-playing alternative to war games comes to NIU as part of Unity in Diversity Week.

Z Ahmad, University Programming and Activities coordinator, said the game, which involves from 50 to 150 participants, is intended to help students “deal with issues that are global, yet also close to the heart, such as illiteracy and racism.”

The game will be conducted in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center at 8 p.m. Participants will find themselves interacting with each other as representatives of the world’s population.

Participants will be divided into various countries, and will act as “living scorecards” as they maneuver around the world’s largest and most accurate map of the Earth, which will cover an area on the floor the size of a basketball court. With 100 participants, each person will represent 1 percent of humanity, or 50 million people.

Once the game begins, participants are charged with the responsibility of solving the problems of their area, as well as setting a long-term goal for the year 2009.

Ahmad said participants will be given a rundown of the policies of current world leaders, and are challenged to do a better job of meeting the world’s needs.

The possibilities are almost endless, depending on the actions of the participants, Ahmad said. One possibility involves witnessing the destrucion of the entire planet through a hypothetical nuclear war using the world’s 50,000 nuclear warheads.

The origins of “The World Game” date back to 1967, when it was first conducted at the Montreal World’s Fair. Four years later, in 1971, the World Game Institute formed as a not-for-profit, non-partisan research group whose purpose is “to help individuals and groups recognize, define, and solve global and local problems in a global context.”

Since that time, the game has been conducted for the U.S. Congress, the Colorado Democratic Party’s 1987 Issues Conference, and such corporations as Pillsbury and Du Pont.

Charles Dingee and Robin Root, both from the Worls Game Institute, will serve as program coordinators and gamemasters. They will preside over the game by acting as referees, and will keep participants informed on the results of their actions with the use of a large video display and public address system.

Registration for participants will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Ballroom, and is open to organizations and individuals. The fee for organizations is $10, regardless of how many players registered, and the fee for individuals is $1. Ahmad said the fees are used to defray the cost of conducting the game, which is about $3,000.

Spectators are welcomed to view the game at floor-level or in the balcony, Ahmad said.

Anyone interested in learning more about “The World Game” can visit a display in the gallery of the Holmes Student Center which details the procedures of the game, or call Ahmad at 753-1421.