It is heartbreaking to walk the broken, muddy streets of Phnom Pehn, Cambodia’s capital city, and see limbless orphans scratching out an existence amidst piles of trash and wreckage. Because of the devastating civil war and subsequent reign of terror imposed by the Khmer Rouge, the Cambodian countryside is to this day strewn with UXO, or unexploded ordinance. It’s just one of many horrific legacies still plaguing the impoverished Southeast Asian nation. Now a new videogame being developed at the University of Michigan wants to help. Funded by the US State Department and the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation,Undercover UXOis designed to run on the “One Laptop Per Child XO laptop.” The game will provide a consequence-free learning environment that teaches kids how to identify UXOs and report them to inspectors. The project’s heart is certainly in the right place, but whether it can actually help remains to be seen.
Above: How the game's creators envision it all coming together