Diplomacy 2.0 With Cellphone Games

For diplomacy’s sake, the State Department is banking on the fact that it’s not just Americans who are obsessed with gaming and cellphones.

The Bureau of International Information Programs at the DOS teamed up with MetroStar Systems, a Reston, Va.-based software developer, to create X-Life, a mobile game for Middle Easterners aimed at teaching them about English language and American history and culture.

The State Department invested $415,000 in X-Life as a pilot project to see whether the concept of “e-diplomacy” might spread cross-cultural understanding between the U.S. and countries in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. The game has two different role-playing modules, one in which a user’s avatar is a student studying abroad in the United States, and the other is a musician in a Guitar Hero-like scenario (Grammy-winning band Ozomatli contributed a song for the game).

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