Joe Zaki isn't your traditional superhero. The skinny, unassuming 22-year-old character is a nutritionist with the U.N. World Food Programme. Yet hundreds of thousands of people know of his relief efforts on the crisis-stricken island of Sheylan.Visit ThinkMTV to download games like Simbabwe 1.0 (fight oppression), MassBalance (successfully balance the state budget), Steer Madness (protect the environment), and UNICEF's World Heroes game.
Zaki doesn't actually exist, nor does Sheylan. But the platform on which Zaki and his fictional homeland are presented, the WFP's Food Force video game, is one of the hottest downloads on the Internet.
The game is a humanitarian effort comprising six relief missions that mirror real-world aid efforts going on around the world. It's one of many pro-social video games aimed at showing young people that heroes aren't always supersized and brains can trump brawn in getting out of dangerous situations.
MTV reports on a new trend in social video gaming: