Monday, May 21, 2007

A differnt kind of social impact game...

Social Impact Game Proposal: Dining Out

My social impact game would be focused around the restaurant industry. It would tackle several different issues which I have come to witness in my 3+ years of working in restaurants: 1.) Food waste; 2.) Obesity; 3.) Server morale, and 4.) Tipping standards.

I would divide my game into the four quadrant structure that the McDonald’s videogame had used.

In the 1st quadrant the user would pick what body type the user is. Next, they would be given a virtual menu and would have to decide what to order. The meal would be brought, and the person would get to choose if they wanted to eat until they are a.) almost full; b.) full. c.) or completely stuffed. Then the user would be presented with a visual of how much food was left over and they could choose to have it boxed up or throw it away. If the user chooses to have the food thrown away then an image of a starving person in a third world nation would pop up on the screen and a message saying, “I’m sure this person would have liked to eat it.” If the person chooses to take the leftovers home then a message saying, “That saved you money! You won’t have to pay for your next meal because you are finishing this one,” would pop up.

The 2nd quadrant would take the same menu that was presented in the 1st quadrant and would ask the user questions about it. This section would be a multiple choice quiz which would ask questions which teach the user about proper nutrition, ways to reduce calories while dining out, and would present representative nutrition facts for certain menu items.

The 3rd quadrant would allow the user to have a one-on-one interaction with their server in a number of given situations. The 1st being the response they give their server at the initial greeting, their answers to questions the server asks, and how they would respond to an issue/or concern. Users should try various options and observe what kind of service they receive from the server. For instance, when a refill is needed and the user chooses to demand rather than ask for another drink, does the server return faster or slower. This would tech the user about proper interpersonal relations while dining out.

In the 4th quadrant the user would be presented with their bill listing the items they bought, the tax, and total. Using their bill, the user will be asked to calculate the tip for a below-average server, an average server, and an exceptional server. After making these calculations a screen would pop up which would talk about the social standards for acceptable tipping. It would also provide a checklist for determining whether the server was neglectful or just busy. For example, was the serving out of breath or running? Did they come by the table to tell you that they would be with you in a moment? Did the server just stand around? Etc.

I believe this would be an important social impact game in that millions of Americans work in restaurants, and a majority of Americans will dine in a restaurant at some point in their lifetimes. This game is meant to be a way to educate restaurant-goers about the issues regarding food and food-service.

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