Monday, May 21, 2007

Social impact game: SPF 101

Based on my experiences playing social impact games, I have a derived a game that is both educational and entertaining. Many of the games in the public policy category involve multiple choice questions about the topic on which each game focuses. By answering a question correctly, the player is able to advance to another level with another question. With each correct response, the character would move up or show some sign of change. If the player put the wrong answer, he or she would have to go back and select another response. While this method is effective in giving the participant a lot of information, the entertainment value is rather weak. There is no incentive to complete one question because it just takes you to another. The element that is missing is scoring or rewarding a player for his success. In addition, I feel that a greater interactive game experience is more worthwhile in keeping a player interested. With a question-type game, there is no reason to return to play the game again after completing all the questions the first time around.

I decided to make my social impact game about the dangers of overexposure to the sun that can result in skin cancer. I think that there is a largely apathetic younger population that does not realize the extreme risk involved in going outside unprotected.

SPF 101
Setting: A shopping strip on a beach front
Goal: A girl needs to get to her date’s house to attend a dance.

Picking up bottles of sunscreen and sunglasses on the way earns points.
She must avoid tanning oil and promoters with flyers for free tanning bed usage.

Different levels equate to different stages of her preparation for the dance. The character’s appearance changes after the completion of each level. At the end of each stage there is a trivia question related to skin cancer that the player has to answer correctly. If answered incorrectly, the player must repeat the level and try again.

Level 1. She travels to a clothing store to buy her dress

What is melanoma?

A. A virus that spreads during the summer months

B. Cancer of the moles: the deadliest form of skin cancer

C. A brand of tanning oil

D. A study on skin cancer

answer B: The American Cancer Society estimates that about 62,190 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the United States during 2006.

Level 2. She travels to the hair salon to get her hair done

How many people are affected by skin cancer each year in the US?

A. Less than 500 people

B. 1,000 people

C. 5,000 people

D. More than 1 million people

answer D: Studies show that more than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, with an estimated 10,590 deaths expected.

Level 3. She goes to a nail salon to get a manicure/pedicure

What is the most common of all cancers?

A. Breast Cancer

B. Ovarian Cancer

C. Skin Cancer

D. Lung Cancer

answer C: Skin cancer accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States.

Level 4. She goes to the flower shop to buy a boutonnière

How can you help prevent skin cancer?

A. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

B. Cover up with protective clothing to guard as much skin as possible when you are out in the sun.

C. Use sunscreen SPF of 15 or higher even on hazy or overcast days.

D. Wear sunglasses with 99% to 100% UV absorption to provide optimal protection for the eyes and the surrounding skin.

E. All of the above

At the end, she arrives at her date’s house. Based on her level of sun exposure, she can either go out to the dance, or she is diagnosed as too red and exhausted for her date.

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