I think the smart thing for the US state department to do today is build a game about Islam but make it a democracy. And set it up so that every 16-year-old from Morocco to Pakistan can go into that world when they get a computer. Not say anything overt about democracy but have them play — have them vote, for example.
I saw this quotation on the ever-excellent kottke.org. Here is his source, on video game economics. Here is the source interview, worth a read. Here is Edward Castronova’s forthcoming book on video game economics.
Addendum: Speaking of kottke.org, they offer a good link on what makes shy people shy, and can they change?
Second addendum: A reader draws my attention to this rather grisly video game.