While Ethan Allen makes mosquito nets look romantic, living in a country where mosquito nets are purely utilitarian and totally necessary (mine was a hideous blue colour with an ugly flower pattern in the netting, and was rigged up to the ceiling with fishing line - no four poster beds to be found) will dash any romantic ideas post-haste. April 25th is World Malaria Day, and as part of the 'Nothing But Net' campaign to get mosquito nets to parts of Africa where malaria is a very real and very deadly problem, the UN has commissioned an easy little came called 'Deliver the Net':
The challenge: race the sun and hand out as many insecticide-treated bed nets as you can to African families. The more nets you deliver - before the mosquitoes come out - the more lives you save. Once you're done playing the game, sign up, confirm your email, and a life-saving bed net will be sent on your behalf!
They're releasing funds (up to $US200,000) through 25 April. While I have yet to figure out why it's taken so long for the net idea to catch on (Japanese officials figured out nets dramatically slashed malaria rates in early 20th century Taiwan), it's an easy way to contribute to a worthy effort. Ian Bogost complains about the game's execution, but regardless of its status as a 'good serious game' or not, it's working towards a good cause (you can also skip the game and just send a net if you're so inclined).
Deliver the Net [Nothing But Nets via Water Cooler Games]