ROME - Internet giant, Yahoo! has joined the group of hosting companies providing support to meet unexpected high demand for Food Force, the humanitarian video game launched last week by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
The game is available as a free download to help educate children about the issue of global hunger. It contains six different missions for children 8-13yrs who work alongside Food Force's crack team of emergency aid workers. While playing the game they are faced with a number of realistic challenges to quickly feed thousands of people in the fictitious island of Sheylan piloting helicopters on reconnaissance missions, negotiating with armed rebels on a convoy run, and using food aid to help rebuild communities.
Immediately after last Thursday's launch, download servers were handling over 4,000 simultaneous requests for Food Force. "We knew the game was good, but neither of our hosting partners, Internet2 in Washington, D.C., or K Group in Italy, expected demand like this," said Neil Gallagher, Director of Communications for WFP.
With the hosting support from Yahoo! Games, which serves millions of customers every hour and is a leading online games site, kids, teachers and online gamers alike will receive the same quality of online service as they do with Yahoo! "Yahoo! responded very quickly to our call for help and worked into the early hours of Saturday morning to make the game available," said Gallagher.
"WFP is well known for its response times in the face of disasters like the Indian Ocean Tsunami so we were very impressed when Yahoo! rose so quickly to the challenge for us," continued Gallagher. "What's more, they have said they will host the game for us for as long as we need it."
Feedback on the game so far has been very positive. Credible gaming sites rate the game highly. Gonzalo Frasca, a ten-year veteran of game design, and researcher on educational games thinks the Food Force game is well over due. "Finally! An educational game that rocks! Informative, well produced and very enjoyable to play.….. Food Force was just launched and it is definitively worth the 200 meg download."
Kids also have good things to report on the www.food-force.com feedback section; "This game is really fun. I am playing it on my Win98 computer just fine. This is very enjoyable. And I am only on the first mission! "When I am older I would love to be doing what you're doing."
The story was picked up by the BBC web site and from then on it was run by the major news portals around the world. Interest in the game continues with tens of thousands of users visiting the www.food-force.comevery hour to compare their high scores, read about the work of WFP in the real world and give feedback.
The PC based video game is available as a free internet download from www.food-force.com. It is currently available in English and WFP is seeking partners to assist with translation into other languages given the strong interest from all over the world.
The World Food Programme is the world's largest humanitarian agency. It is active on the frontlines in more than 80 countries, feeding some 90 million people each year. Through interventions ranging from emergency relief to hot meals in schools, WFP's vision is to end hunger which stalks 850 million people in the world today.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: each year, WFP provides food aid to an average of 90 million people, including 56 million hungry children, in more than 80 countries.
WFP Global School Feeding Campaign For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school -- a gift of hope for a brighter future.
For more information on Food Force or WFP, please see: www.food-force.com
Mob +39 348 0515150
Vichi De Marchi
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Deputy Director Communications
Mob. + 1-202 4223383