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Some of New Zealand's top corporate computer geeks are using computer games to improve the skills of young people in poor communities.
The group, led by The Warehouse chief information officer Owen McCall, aims to install cast-off computers from businesses in 50 community centres around the country by the end of 2012.
The first batch of six computers, installed this week at Manukau's RaWiri community centre, are already proving a school holidays hit for youngsters aged about 9 to 13.
"I reckon it will make a big difference, get them off the streets," said Joel Eketone, 17, one of five older volunteers who have been trained to supervise the youngsters.
The geeks have chosen games, such as British MoshiMonsters and New Zealand-made DinoSawUs, that are fun and educational.
"Some can be quite mathematical, puzzle-based, strategic," said Brian Tomlinson, a former business executive who is managing the RaWiri installation.
An information technology consultant who co-founded the group, Ian Howard, said it invited submissions from the public for other suitable games. It has also signed up Otara's Clubhouse 274 to help create its own games.
"In the games world you can take on big tasks that stretch your ability, and you have a really good chance of succeeding, as opposed to the real world where it appears to be broken for many people," Mr Howard said.
"So we are about providing the games experience to people and communities with the hope it will translate into positive life experiences."