Monday, May 21, 2007

Alexandra & Julianne's Social Impact Game Proposal

Social Impact Game Proposal: Up and Close and Personal with Eating Disorders

Our idea for a social impact game is one that would teach adolescent and young adult females about the dangers of eating disorders. We developed this idea after reviewing the games in the Health and Nutrition section of the Social Impact Game website. Essentially, this game would allow a player to select a character, who is either battling anorexia or bulimia. We are still mulling over the logistics, but essentially when a player gets a character they would receive a variety of information about their personality and family background. The reason for this stems from the fact that eating disorders are instigated by a myriad of factors; many of which have to do with genetics or the need to control. Thus by becoming acquainted with their characters personality, the player would be able to get an intimate glimpse of the complexity surrounding these disorders. Each character would come with a short story about their illness and their life in general. After making their selection, the player would go on to explore a “day in the life” of that particular character. This game is essentially a virtual world in which players embody characters dealing with eating disorders. The player would be able to interact with friends and family of their character and experience school activities.

Essential Elements of Our Game:
The most important aspect of this game would focus on how these characters approached meals. In response to breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner, the game would announce what choices the character would usually make and then allow the player to make healthy choices for themselves. The hope would be that players of this game would acknowledge how terrible eating disorders are, especially when they experience the meal choices available to these women. Players would win the game if they were able to choose healthy meal opinions for their character for an extended period of time. As players begin to make their character eat healthy, they would experience different responses from friends and family, encouraging their efforts and discussing this prevalent disease.

The Social Impact of Our Game:
We believe that this game is very important because so many women our age and younger are dealing with eating disorders. We saw games on the social impact game website that taught children how to make healthy eating decisions and even games targeted towards adult nutrition. However, no games specifically addressed the issue of eating disorders, which we believe is one of the most serious threats to young women today. Additionally, a vital component of the game would be the information layers receive about eating disorders. Players would be acquainted with the staggering statistics of eating disorders in addition to learning about the devastating effects it has on an individual’s health. By providing this information the game would be living up to the standards of social impact games: which fuses learning with entertainment.

An Influential and Didactic Gaming Experience:
We feel that this is a devastating problem that needs to be addressed, and by turning this into a social impact game, we are confronting this issue in a unique an interactive way. The game would focus on helping the characters overcome their disorder. Thus in order to do this the player would have to choose healthy meals and sit through therapy. We feel that by being acquainted with an eating disorder on this level and working to help their character recover from this life altering illness, players would receive an educational and empowering gaming experience.

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