Gaming For Peace

Gaming is everywhere—from cell phones, to video consoles, to tablets, etc. While the majority of games tend to be violent, one young man has developed a game that teaches peace.

When Lual Mayan saw his first laptop at the age of twelve, he knew what he wanted. He lived in a refugee camp in northern Uganda, with no schooling and no power, but that didn’t stop him from dreaming of doing something more.

Noticing his interest, his mother worked for three years mending clothes so she could buy him a used laptop. Lual taught himself computer programming and game development all while walking three hours a day to charge his computer.

His first game is called “Salaam,” which means peace, and it tells his personal story of survival. The objective is to help the refugees in the game flee falling bombs, find water, and gain energy points to stay alive and thrive, while the environment transitions from war to peace. The main character is based on his mother who never gave up on his dreams.

Since its release, Salaam has caught worldwide attention. It leads the way in a new category of games called “social impact gaming” that teaches users positive skills such as empathy building and conflict resolution.

This game also raises money through the sale in-app items, whose profits are then directed to grassroots organizations at refugee camps making real, positive impact where it is needed most.

The game’s success has also allowed Lual to immigrate to the United States, where he’s now the CEO of his own software company, Junub Games. Lual says, “As someone who has been through war, I feel like if I can make a game about peace, I can change the mindset of people.”

And that is just what he is doing – teaching others how to win through peace, not war, both in games and in real life.