|Type||Non-profit organization Video game industry|
PLAYPOWER is a non-profit organization designed to create free educational computer software for low income families in India and other developing countries. The games are designed to run on 8-bit systems, using a processor that is in the public domain, which allows the games to be run on very low cost computers. For $12, families can buy a compatible computer with an 8-bit, 6502 processor, a keyboard, a slot for game cartridges, a mouse, and two game controllers. Lacking its own monitor, the computer plugs into a TV screen for display.
At least three games were in production as of early 2010. One of them teaches players how to type, which can greatly improve their earning potential in the job market. Another is a multiple choice question game, somewhat similar to that featured in the film Slumdog Millionaire. And finally, a different game was created to raise awareness of malaria (which infects 1.5 million people a year in India) by allowing players to kill mosquitoes and accumulate points toward antimalarial mosquito nets.
PLAYPOWER won the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning Competition in 2009, for which it received $180,000 to help fund its activities. The programmers who design the games are volunteers, and more than 100 from around the world have signed up to help develop games.
The organization was founded in 2008 by Derek Lomas and Daniel Rehn (who were students at the University of California at San Diego at the time) and Jeremy Douglass (who was a post doctoral research fellow at the same school at the time).
- Old-style computers get new life in developing countries, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 10, 2010
- $12 Computer: Playpower Wants to Save the World 8 Bits at a Time, Wired, March 11, 2009
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