The Muslim charity Islamic Relief UK launches a videogame in partnership with Ultimatum Games, with the aim of teaching young people how international aid works and to tackle negative perceptions of Muslims. The game, ‘Virtue Reality’, is based on real international development projects run by Islamic Relief in more than 40 countries across the world, from Pakistan to Mali.
Virtue Reality launches at the National Videogame Museum in Sheffield, where local school students will be the first to try out the game. It will be available to download for free on Apple and Google devices. The launch ties in with Charity Week, a fundraising campaign among Muslim students in the UK.
Virtue Reality comes from a recognition that Muslims are often not presented in a positive light in films, TV programmes or videogames – all too often presented as ‘the bad guys’. It also addresses a gap in the knowledge of the general public with regards to how foreign aid works.
The game is an ‘Idle Clicker’ game. The gamer is invited to build projects such as shelters, boreholes and schools. As they click, the gamer accumulates enough ‘DeedCoins’ – the game’s currency – to build the first phase of a project. These DeedCoins reflect the good deeds that Muslims are expected to carry out as part of their faith.
Throughout the game, the user will receive feedback on how the project is going. From time to time, they will receive ‘donations’ randomly, in the form of DeedCoins from Islamic Relief’s funders, such as the Department for International Development (DFID) or Charity Week. They will also be directed to charity videos, so that gamers can make donations – or to the shop, so that gamers can make in-app purchases. The income from these will support the charitable work of Islamic Relief.
The videogame is also being launched simultaneously in the US and Canada by Islamic Relief partners. It will be promoted by Islamic Relief offices from Australia to Mauritius and Germany to Pakistan.
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