Friday, June 20, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
and here is the link to my homepage:
Enojoy, and happy summer!
Monday, June 2, 2008
When I read about the social impact games, I wondered how these simple games could inform in such a way to actually effect social change. It seemed like a good idea to get people learning interactively, but once I played the games I found that any sort of learning value extracted from the game play was nothing that couldn’t have been stated in one simple sentence. For example, “The McDonald’s industry uses unethical practices to maintain profits,” or “Kinko’s employees become bored and apathetic in their work environment.”
I played the McDonald’s game first and decided to play it in French to see how a French person, who is especially likely to hate McDonald’s, would be affected by this game. I spent a while clicking on random things to see what they did. In one place, an image appeared showing an evil McDonald with a starving African baby, which I found to be a powerful image.
Soon I was raising cows and harvesting crops. I thought this would bring me profit in no time, but I quickly lost money. I went to the cow pen and slaughtered cows by clicking on them. I thought this would bring me money because it meant I would be selling hamburgers, but instead a little person starting jumping up and down and screaming at me, and I continued to lose money. I went into the corporate board room and tried to adjust the budget, but nothing worked! When I went into the negative ten thousands, a mean scary McDonald face appeared shouting, “Shame on you! You’ve brought the company to bankruptcy! You’ve destroyed years and years of business culture.” I didn’t care that I had failed; I was proud to have single-handedly brought down a huge corporation that sells unhealthy food to the masses.
Next, I downloaded “Disaffected!” to my desktop and began to play. This game emulates working at Kinko’s. You’re supposed to wait for customers to walk in and then retrieve their mail package from the storage counter. It took me several tries before I was able to satisfy a customer. The clients get impatient quickly, I noticed, as a sort of ticking clock floating above each client’s head indicates.
The game allows you to switch between either of the two employees who are on shift, so that if one employee is closer to the counter you can switch to him and have him get the package for the client more quickly. The annoying part is that the two employees often get in each other’s way, and that slows down the whole process.
I usually brought the clients the wrong package at first, and then I would have to endure their angry shouts before trying again. If I failed again, they were out the door.
Social impact gaming seems to be a great idea, and I’m sure some games that choose the right topic and the right mode of game play can be effective. The games I played didn’t seem to make a bold statement or inform players of anything new or significant.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
For my social impact game, the player would begin by choosing a pet which they would like to raise. The participant can choose the type of animal they would like to raise, for example, a dog, cat, pig, horse, any animal out of a variety of choices, as well as the gender of the animal. The player can choose the appearance of the pet, its color and size. The player is also given the opportunity to “adopt” a pet from the local pound. The player is then provided the opportunity to walk around in “pet world” where the player will encounter several variables which will evaluate the player’s capability of successfully raising and taking care of a pet. Over time, the pet will begin to change and develop as a result of the decisions made by the owner concerning its well being. The pet’s size will change, it will grow or shrink depending on the amount of food it is fed and its temperament will change depending on how much attention it is given. Pets in “pet world” can get sick as well as recover, if the player chooses to help treat the animal. The social impact effect of the “pet world” game would be to teach responsibility. The player is responsible for the pet and the pet’s well being. Because the player can view how their own choices affect another being, the player should learn what choices are beneficial towards others and are good choices to be made. The pet world game provides players with an idea of if raising a pet is a good idea, depending on their own lifestyles. The game is meant to simulate how much responsibility comes with owning a pet and to help the player decide if they are prepared for that responsibility. The pet world game is meant to reflect the immense amount of animal neglect and mistreatment in the
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Game Type: MMORPG
Summary: Space Vehicles mines Helium 3, simulate low gravity environments while transporting materials / take off / landing.
Creating a game that would be both academically stimulating while capturing the imagination (and interest) of adolescents is not an easy task. Not only does it require a “fun” game, it also requires a lengthy amount of research as well as timing.
At this particular point in time, I would choose to create a space game. Not only would it raise awareness of our nation's stagnating, inefficient, poorly funded space program, it would raise interest in the subject and potentially create future replacements for the aging ranks within NASA.
This game would be an MMORPG (hopefully funded like the government-- like Army Operations), and would focus around the economic repercussions of fossil fuels and the search for alternative sources of energy. An integral part of the game will be harvest Helium-3, Deuterium, and other fusion-able resources commonly found in our galaxy. While the game begins somewhat a hundred years in the remote future, the player begins his journey 200 miles above the earth's surface in one of the many space stations orbiting the earth. Real-Life physics will be an important part of the game. While it is understood that if accurate real-life physics would make space travel time consuming and near unplayable, it would be my intention to the make the game as accurate as possible, while making it still playable. This would mean tweaking the physics so that perhaps scale is slightly adjusted for better interaction and travel, while interaction between players and objects, etc was still realistic. Here's an example: A player travels halfway around the earth while in orbit to a debris field to clean up debris. Realistically, it would take the player possibly half an hour to an hour to arrive at his location. In game, to maintain player interest, the travel would have to take at most 5-10 minutes. When the player arrives at the debris field, interaction with debris should be realistic. If the player is traveling too fast, the debris should destroy his ship. Additionally, if he/she bumps into the debris, it should bump / shatter in a realistic fashion, and possible cause a chain reaction (kessler syndrome?).
The main theme in this game will be exploration and teamwork. Online communities are what power MMORPGs and so naturally great emphasis would be put in building that community. “Missions” given (generically known as quests) would require players to team up with other players, perhaps performing docking maneuvers, pooling resources together to to get to a location, etc. Combat could be introduced as an additional incentive, although it would need to be as realistic as possible (civilian ships would at the most have mining lasers, etc).
Potentially this game could be used for realistically simulations. The game engine, if open source could be used for much more than simply for entertainment. A program such as this would have application purposes in the military, commercial enterprises, and even future space travel.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Social impact gaming just might be the way to reach upcoming generations who have been brought up on the X-box, PSP, or Nintendo DS. Nowadays, gaming begins when you’re a toddler, with the creation of games and gaming systems like “Leapfrog”, young children are learning to read, write, and spell on these digital systems. It makes sense that people who are aware of this growing trend, would try to capitalize on it for the advancement of social and economic justice. Games are something that no one really ever grows out of, and free gaming on the web allows groups to target a wide variety of audiences. Instead of games being mindless for of entertainment there is actually a purpose and message that is relevant to current events.
Out of curiosity I followed a link from social impact games (.com) to see exactly how people were using these games to educate and entertain. I visited http://www.darfurisdying.com/ and it was sort of weird to know that I am playing a game that is someone in
If I were to create a game that would embody the vision I have for my final project, I would create some sort of game aimed at young women (ages 17-22) that directs them away from materialism and encourages sisterhood, ambition, solidarity and intellect over the body-obsessed, self-criticizing and increasing materialistic media. There is nothing out there that screams “GIRL POWER” (not so cheesy though!) and encourages a do-it-yourself attitude for females in my age group. I would also want my game to have some sort of international aspect….maybe the characters could be from different countries or you can select which country you want to play in and from that there are certain rules and regulations etc. Now I have no idea what the actual game might be. But I am open for suggestions [[ comment please ]]
Possibly some sort of uber materialism and superficiality—like having a character which you have to “make-up” and then the whole objective is to find a boyfriend, have the most friends, money, and stylish clothes and become a “star”. The way that you would do all of this is by 1.) stealing other girls’ friends 2.) spreading rumors that make your character look better or make someone else look worse 3.) stealing boyfriends and the other usual cattiness and passivity associated with teenage girls. Doing all of these things would allot you “popularity points” .
I hope you can see what I’m getting at. Any suggestions?
As the game goes on the character matures and they are posed with more challenging situations as their friends start to do drugs and drink more frequently and in great numbers. This is where the main point of the game comes in. The point of the game is not to immediately show kids that drugs are evil and if you drink or do drugs you will die or they will make you a horrible person; it is to teach self control, self awareness, and their values. There will be choices where they can either choose to go and hang out with their friends or they can stay home to study for a midterm or just spend time with their family. If the child entered that their family has a history of drug or alcohol abuse they will sometimes be shown a choice of what to do, but the game will choose for them. If they go hang out with their parents or study instead they will be rewarded by doing well on tests or completing homework so that they can go out and do things while their friends have to study for a test because they did poorly on the last one due to their lack of studying to go “hang out” with their friend. If they spend time with their parents they will get random parental appreciation or rewards such as money, new clothes, gaming systems, or whatever the child playing the game is interested in.
After reading Kai’s (sp?) proposal on her game, I think that getting different perspectives in the game can be good; possibly a game within the game for the parents to teach them about talking to their kids appropriately about drugs or respecting their space. For example, parents can look through their kids stuff while their kid is at school school, but they won’t know whether or not their kid will notice. You could even have a little bar on the side that shows how much your kids trust you, which will be based on whether or not you violate your kids space or if you talk to them effectively and appropriately about drug use.
Let me know what you think!
My father is one of the most important people in my life. He has not only provided me with a life full of vast opportunities, but he has taught me to be strong and independent. My father is a dentist in
We have all heard the stereotypes and discriminations surrounding gang members. They are typically envisioned as violent thugs who roam the streets strapped with guns and stealing from corner stores. After a life of petty crime, most end up in jail or in a coffin. Rarely do we hear the stories of those who end their life of chaotic violence and crime and end up contributing effectively and successfully to society and the community. My final project will focus on telling the story of those gang members, who turn their negative lives into positive, particularly with the inclusion of a detailed account of my own father’s experience.
Anyways, on to my social impact game. My brief proposal for a social impact game of my own would be entitled “The Gang Life.” In this game the player would start off as an experienced gang member, convicted of murder, but released into society. The player then has to do good deeds, as he is confronted with situations that could cause him or her to resort back to the violent ways that his or her life once was when in the gang. If the player successfully avoids using gang ways to handle various situations, then he or she is able to move on to the next level. Each level confronts the player with more and more aggressive and complicated situations. It is the player’s job to respond reasonably and productively.
Each time the player uses a gang way to resolve a problem he or she loses a “freedom life,” in which each player starts off with three. At the end of these three “freedom lives,” the player loses the game and must start over in order to continue playing the game. Now, this game sounds pretty simple and sounds pretty boring, but please understand, I am in no way a gamer and in no way have experience with these types of computer games, other than the games we experimented with this week. But it is just a proposal and an idea. Hopefully, my website, however, will be of great interest and uniqueness.
After playing several online videogames, both for this class and in the past, I have found that the most effective social-commentary games are the ones that are not blatantly propagandizing. The most effective and attractive games are obviously the ones that offer entertainment value. My idea for a social impact game would consist of a game that explains memetics to the general populace. That said, it would be an educational game without a particular agenda, that is, a game that only teaches.
Functionally speaking I think that the game would boil down to a salesmanship type of game. What I mean by this is that the gamer would control a traveling salesman, similar to a Mary Kay consultant or Willie Lowman. They would operate in a simplified world that reflects society in its current state; perhaps this would work well in Second Life. The salesman would have many things to sell. Some items would require a payment in time, some would require a payment in money, some would require both. There would be a myriad of items that represent everything from entire ideologies, to individual ideas, to things as simple as a YouTube video. These would be called “items” or “memes.”
The gamer/salesperson would be able to both make appointments with people who have requested a viewing of the merchandise as well as approach random people on the streets, or perhaps do a bit of cold door-knocking. The customers would be simplified individuals, meaning they might become stereotypes to some extent. So when a transaction occurs it might look like a nerdy-type purchasing a piece of technology, a hipster-type buying music or other underground cultural item, or a soccer mom purchasing computer-security software to protect their children from the perceived high threat of predators. Herein would lie the challenge of the game: trying to judge what series of items to show to the customer to keep their interest and ultimately sell a meme. There would be an “easy” setting where it would be simple to judge a person by their appearance or position in society and sell them items (memes) that would typically fit into that person’s lifestyle. The “hard” setting would be a challenge and perhaps closer to real life; on this setting customers would be interested in a wide variety of items. If the gamer misjudges, then the customer becomes disinterested and tries to end the appointment or get away from the salesperson. One would have to keep up with certain quotas or sell certain items in order to succeed in the game. If quotas are not met in the time-frame allotted, then one loses the game and ends up being fired.
The game might be a bit complex to create for an online venue—perhaps it could be kept simple enough to do so—but perhaps the game would be more successful as a console game.
(((Sorry this is so long... I dont really know if this is even a "game" but it's all I could think of that applied to my final project. Either way, here ya go...)))
My final project is going to be on the use of snail bait. Although both types of snail bait (toxic and non-toxic) are available for consumers, many people are not aware of the potential harm it has on their pets. The idea for a game that I have is to see through the eyes of the consumer, manufacturer and the veterinary technicians that have to treat the pets who eat this product.
The game will start out with the character you play going to the store like
As the player you then see your dog on the ground not moving because they ate the toxic snail bait. Then you will have to rush to the veterinary hospital to treat your dog. You walk in the hospital and they take the dog to the back automatically. On the side of the screen once you enter the hospital you see a bill that keeps wracking up the longer you stay there. The initial charge is $118 just for the doctor to see your pet. At the end of your stay, if you pet survives, your bill will be near a thousand dollars. You must pay ½ of this upfront or get Care Credit.
Then as you sit in the waiting room and look at your bill wracking up, the game will shift to the back of the hospital- the treatment area. You bring in the box of snail bait that you used in your garden. You will then have to decipher if it is the toxic or non-toxic form of snail bait. If it is non-toxic then you are fine and the player learns what types are acceptable to buy. Your bill then will only be $118. If you bring in a toxic box of snail bait, which will happen most of the time you will see your pet on the treatment table seizing.
As you go along, there will be little “Problem Pop-ups”. These will go through all the issues dogs experience after they eat snail and it gets into their blood stream. One example would be: “Your dog has a fever of 107.1°. What do you do?” It will be multiple choice- a) put them on a cold surface b) apply ice packs c) give more drugs. “You have to give your dog an enema. What are you looking for in their stool? a) green gooey stuff b) solid brown stool c) speckled grainy black stuff.” You have to answer the questions right otherwise your pet dies.
I want this to be more of an educational game that helps people realize how serious the problem of toxic snail bait is. Therefore, another question will require the player to do some math. For example, you will have to calculate doses of drugs to treat your pet. “The Doctor has prescribed __mg of Valium, if Valium comes in __mg/ml, how many mls should you give your pet?”
If you get to the end of the treatment and you pet gets better you win because you get your pet back but you are stuck with a huge bill. That’s the reality of using toxic snail bait. The ending question will be: “Is having a snail-free garden worth all of this trouble, stress, and money?” Of course, it’s not!
My idea for my final project is to do a website catered to
The game idea I have would deal with this disturbing experience of being sexually assaulted. I would have a student be sexually assaulted and then after the occurrence there would be a series of choices. Whether they reported it, told a friend, told a CF. Did they go to the hospital and get a rape kit? Did they call campus safety and file a police report? Did they go to trial and testify against their attacker? Did they go to counseling after? Or did they keep it inside? After each choice the character will have different occurrences in their life that follow those choices. I know it sounds kind of depressing but I think it is important for everyone to know what choices you have and hopefully making these choices in a game will give someone the empowerment to do it in real life.
I also think it would be really cool to have an option in the game where you can be a close friend or family member of the survivor of sexual assault. These confidants play a huge role in the survivor’s recovery and it can be just as draining, painful, and stressful. They would have choices of whether they attempted to force the survivor to speak, broke their trust, or just provided support. What to do if they decide to press charges? Will you do all you can to get them to see a therapist? This can be a very difficult position as a friend or family member and hopefully this game would provide strength and answers to questions of those in this tough place.
If anyone has any ideas for the website please let me know!!!
After playing the social impact games, I thought of the possibility of games that can be used to educate. As far as my project goes, I would like to focus on education and support for sexual assault and rape, particularly focused upon young women. How this translates into a game was difficult for me to imagine. In one of the lectures I had been to illustrate how it is to do something without your choice. While I think that the actual act of sexual assault is too much and too sensitive to be a game itself, I imagine a game where you set up a character, and use similar instances of people taking power from you. I played this game in a paper version once in a sexual assault workshop and thought that the medium of a social impact game might make it more powerful.
To begin with, you set up a character, and list 16 things that are important to that character. You can pick the age, race, gender, clothing, socio economic status etc. By creating a person, you are not perpetuating the stereotype that sexual assault happens to the loose girl on the street. Then you are asked to name 16 important things. The importance must include 4 people, 4 special characteristics or skills, 4 favorite activities, and 4 other personal belongings.
As the game goes on, you move your character through the town. Events occur that make you more and more uncomfortable and angry. Someone cuts you off in traffic, and then someone steals your wallet. With each act you must choose to take away and lose something that is important to you. The acts against you escalate as you reach home. Someone mugs you. Someone steals your car. With these acts you get to decide between the choices the computer gives you to take it away. Finally at home with only 4 important things left. You see someone break into your apartment. The computer chooses what to take away with you and you are left with only two personal things not of your choice.
This game works, and it has worked for me, because it shows that when sexual assault happens, you lose your ability to choose for yourself. In the end you have literally no say in what part of yourself is taken from you. After the game, there would be a message that this is what you are left with after an assault, only parts of yourself. You can lose family, friends, personality traits, personal belongings and that this loss can happen to anyone, because you can design the personal character in the beginning.
I am not certain how feasible this game would be, but as I said, dealing with sexual assault might not have a correlating social impact game that is feasible to educate. The point of this game is to make everyone feel the potential loss associated with sexual assault.
The other game I thought might work is simpler, but it’s kind of pick out the victim and pick out the perpetrator. By having both men and women dressed beyond the stereotypes in both roles, showing that it can happen to anyone and can be anyone is important in breaking down these stereotypes. After guessing, real statistics could pop up saying that no, it is not always the drunk girl in a short skirt who is “asking for it” and it is not the huge scary man who is the perpetrator. This game would work to break down stereotypes by presenting facts about sexual assault and by showing that you really cannot tell who it happens to and who does it. This would be a good tool because it shows how important it is to be on guard and educated about the potential for assault in the everyday, because more often than not it happens with someone known not a stranger.
The basis of any successful videogame is not just playability, but re-playability. Bringing back your players time and again, providing enduring enthrallment is a secondary layer that separates one-hit-wonders from classics. Games like Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64 are over a decade old, yet they continue even to this day to provide high quality entertainment due to the sole fact that the final product released way back then was so polished and well thought-out that the enduring playability of it would far exceed other games of that time. For this reason, my proposal for a game is one that integrates successful aspects of previous games in the nature of being able to keep the players motivated (through systems within the game) to continue to play.
In a sense it’s difficult initially to pinpoint exactly what makes games addictive. On one hand, there is the notion of success through continual improvements to the game, as is the case for World of Warcraft (the leading online game, currently.) Content patches are released on a multi-annual basis to provide players with new rewards and goals to strive towards, preventing the game from becoming stagnant and engaging the playerbase to continue their time throughout the world, all the while paying monthly fees and such. Based off of this, the cornerstone of my game, which I dub The Tower, will be a focus on pivotal rewards that engage players to spend time in the game with fewer incentives but at the same time stronger incentives.
How will I do this? By creating avatars. It’s not a new concept, but the sense of ownership players have over their virtual avatars remains at the forefront of addictive tendencies, to the point where players are literally driven to improve themselves virtually as an ego-booster in real life. It’s so effective that players simply log online to catch a glimpse of the avatar they have spent so much time on, thereby increasing their interaction with the game environment and improving their chances of returning to see it once again.
The next major concept I wish to include is the concept of risk vs. reward. A very successful tactic is the nature of giving players in my virtual world tasks that they are meant to overcome. They continue to play many hours longer than necessary with the motive being that they are working ever closer towards an underlying goal, something that will keep them motivated to return, which is the main driving intention.
Lest we forget, a major driving force in society is the concept of sex, or sexual appeal. Giving people taunting messages of sex or even simply physical attraction gives them motive to keep engaging themselves in the world. They see these messages as inviting and engaging, giving them a sense of inclusion and belonging, something they perhaps lack in normal life. By doing this, I am honing in that message of continued enhancement and inclusion, keeping players coming back again and again.
I will include more of my proposal in future updates, but again the sole purpose is to tap into the addictive tendencies that are making today’s games as popular as they are. By looking into what they are doing correctly, we can take that and refine it to a level that can provide players with a new, equally engaging experience that will have them returning.
In this game, you are a costumer, with a list of toys you need to attain. Now depending on which level you choose (call ahead, arrive early, camp outside), you must go around and gather the toys you need, one at a time, and pay for them at the register. Meanwhile, there are other shoppers busily gathering the toys they need. Now, if you miss just one toy and the store runs out before you have a chance to get it, than you automatically lose (hence, in the real world, if one misses the opportunity to obtain just one of the gifts, than the holiday is a bust). Now one of the most interesting aspects of the game consisted of the violence. Now if another costumer possessed a toy that you needed than you could fight them for it, literally, by punching them in the face. But it is necessary if you want to win the game, because if you miss just one toy you lose. Now this is pretty consistent with the real world, we have all at one time or another heard the horror stories of tired mothers fighting one another for the last tickle-me-elmo.
This game interestingly created a sense of what our holiday season has become. We are so consumed with the materialistic aspect of the season that we have lost sight of spending time with our family and friends and giving the gift of love and compassion. My own mother has said that she hates going to the mall to get our presents, my sister and I are limited to two presents each, an expensive one and a thoughtful one (Last year I got a digital camera and the dvd of a movie I had grown up with as a child). We have never really been into getting the latest and crazed toys at that time. We need to leave behind the need or want for the hottest items on the market and return to the season of love and spending time with family and friends. Perhaps a little too idealistic...but still a nice thought.
The first game that I played was the McDonalds game. It was actually very hard to play. I found myself going bankrupt after only minutes of playing. I got better at it the more I played, but I never did succeed at accomplishing anything. What made it so difficult was trying to maintain the farm land, the animal feed, and the actual food service. It was a constant back and forth motion and I could never stay in one place for too long, otherwise I lost track of things in the other areas. It definitely made me think about the reality of this game. When people eat at McDonalds, I don't think anyone likes to think about the cows that are actually used to make their hamburger. What was interesting within the game, was that for the grains and soy, you could choose to genetically alter the crops to create more. In the feed storage area, you could choose to add hormones to the meat that was ground up. It was interesting to think about these aspects because I always hear about restaurants and fast food companies who use these type of alterations within their products to create massive amounts of the product for less money and labor. This game was so complex with all of the aspects that you have to worry about. It definitely made me appreciate the gaming industry because I cant imagine the amont of time and thought that went into creating a small internet game like this one that has not even been seen by the majority of the public.
The second game that I played was Operation: Pedopriest. I am a Catholic, and when I saw the advertisement for this game, I was very curious to see what the game entailed. I ending up disliking this game, primarily because of the subject matter, but also because there didnt seem to be much of a point to playing the game. The game consisted of players watching over a house-like structure that had priests, children, and adults walking around. There were men in red robes, who I believe were bishops or church authorities, who the player is in charge of. These men distract or talk to the police who roam the house looking for priests who have abused the children. Basically, you watched the priests inappropriately touch the children, and your job was to make sure that none of the police came in contact with these priests because they would interrogate the priests and ultimately arrest them. If 2 or 3 arrests were made, you lost the game. What disturbed me about this game was that you had no control over the priests actions, you just had to sit there and watch them touch the children. You could only have control of the people whose job was to keep the inappropriate behaviors a secret from the media and the police. I realize this was a huge controversial issue, but it kind of sickened me that it would be made into a game. It almost promotes child abuse because nothing is being done about the abuse, instead it is being kept a secret. I could rant and rave about my opinion of the this issue, but I will stop myself since that isnt the point. But I guess it is the game's purpose to strike up an interest, or to at least create some sort of emotion within the player after experiencing the game. If this is in fact the purpose, then it succeeded with me because it disgusted me, that is for sure.
If I were to create my own social impact game, I think I would make one about eating disorders. It would consist of the player going through a course where they must get to the end before developing an eating disorder. Of course, there would be setbacks involved in the game. There would be magazines, which would create self esteem issues and would encourage the player to be thing. There would also be groups of friends who were judgmental and who may have eating disorders themselves. Finally, there would be parents who would also encourage the player to lose weight and to maintain a thin body. The player must avoid these setbacks in order to get the end of the course. I would want to create this game because of the prevalence of eating disorders, especially among girls. I believe that there are numerous factors that go into a person developing an eating disorder, including genetics. If society focused on removing these horrible things, girls would not develop eating disorders as much as they are today. I think that the games that focus on health issues are very important and could potentially influence people to live healthier lifestyles.
As a player you will seek to provide children with books that emphasize critical thinking and science, rather than reading fiction/quasi historical books in the bible that emphasize faith. In this game faith is what loses the player the game. So there is a varying bar running on the bottom of the screen which measures a children’s faith versus their rational knowledge. How is this done?
You, the player approach a classroom which houses young students of impressionable age. In side the classroom is also a faith based individual that is preaching the “word of God” to students that ask for it. The students have the freedom of deciding which person they want to listen to, but all of them start with a blank slate. Upon first arriving in the classroom you will present a number of facts that coincide with scientific data that is applicable to children of their age group, such as animals change colors in order to survive from being attacked from predators, this is the concept of natural selection. You also present them with the concept of the strongest surviving in nature and the evolutionary process throughout the course of history. On the other hand, the Christian will present the child with stories which speak about how humans arrived on the planet and why there are different races that inhabit the earth. Their stories will have no credence and be based strictly on fairy tale stories from the bible.
After each group is done giving their introduction the children will then ask questions. Based on the level of difficulty selected at the games start, the amount of children which ask questions will appear. As far as this is just a simple online game, there will not be a significant amount of detailed processing that can be done by the children, but the goal will be of the player to present the children with solutions to their questions. For instance if the child asks why Hurricane Katrina occurred, it will be the goal of the player to drag an article out of your briefcase on global warming and place it on the child’s desk. However if you do not get to the child in time, the Christian will vomit onto the child the words, Sin, homosexuality, fornication, and gambling.
I feel this game adequately represents the real scenario that has been occurring throughout history. I am targeting Christianity here, but it doesn’t stop with them. Every major religion seeks to indoctrinate children at young impressionable ages. This is a sickness that has been spread throughout our history of human beings. I am not opposed to literature and old literature, but I am opposed to pseudo science, and presumptive individuals that think they know, what is not known. The fascinating part about our place in history is that there is so much that we do know currently, we are tapping the resource of knowledge that is tangible and empirical to research and observation, everything else is fairytales and a detriment to our civilization and community as we have seen it.
Targeted primarily at an audience interested in men, this game's entire strategy is to "fake" an orgasm, yet fake it so that your partner has no idea. Right here I lost sight of the game's point, which is to promote effective sexual understanding in order to promote effective communication in the real world. Yet, a good sexual understanding should not promote the act of "faking." It should rather promote a comfort level, in which an individual should be able to comfortably tell their partner what works and what doesn't, so that a "fake" orgasm will be non-existent.
Now, after this initial realization, I reread the game's description. In this description, it is stated that faking an orgasm "takes great sensibility" and it is this simultaneous orgasm with your partner, whether you are truly done or not, is an effective and successful sexual understanding. However, I still do not understand how a good sexual relationship promotes healthy and successful communication in the real world. If the point was to promote the importance of effective communication, I feel like another game would have been appropriate. Is the game entitled "Orgasm Simulator" complete with sexual sounds, the only game that can promote their intended idea? I guess in America, sex sells. After all, I played, which is what the creator wanted. They just want to get you to play, whether you agree with the game or not.
The next game I played was Airport Security. Very funny and hilarious concept, that’s one of the reasons I picked it. Somehow it seems like it would be fun to have that type of job and just be considered the “ambivalent screener.” I would like to first give my opinion on this intrusion upon our civil rights. We don’t need the government snooping through our belongings every time we decide to board a plane, it’s unethical and violates everything the constitutional values of low government intrusion into our personal lives is all about. They develop this mock entity that they call Homeland Security, which is an albatross of beurocratic b/s. If they were sensible they would allow the airlines and airport to monitor their passengers themselves. That way if there is an incident it reflects on the inadequacy of the airport and not the government. They flew the airplanes into private property from private property. What business is it of the government in any of these affairs? I’m pretty sure we’re all convinced and aware that there is adequate reason to believe that an airplane did not crash into the Pentagon also. I hate to tote the free market, but it is a reasonable solution to the issues concerning airport security. Again I digress from the game, yes, let’s talk about the game.
Obviously the point of the game is to illicit frustration in how difficult it is to constantly check the bags and keep up with the ever changing new items which cannot be carried on board anymore. Is this supposed to make me feel more understanding of the people that are running the security? Am I supposed to feel sympathetic for them? I don’t. I think the government did a good job of hiring a bunch of slackers to do the work. And it’s not the slackers fault; they’re within the price range of what the state wants to pay. If this was open to private organizations you better believe it would be in the best interest of the airport and airlines to check their passengers adequately before they get on board. Otherwise who’s going to patronage their service?
I thought the previous game was supposed to instigate frustration, but the last game I played caused even more. I played Activism, the public policy game. I think they’re trying to say that it all a matter which mouth you’re most inclined to feed. This is definitely directed towards Democrats and their desire to control most of everything regarding our nation; education, military, immigration, economy, security, and social security. Perhaps this is part of the issue with the altruistic philosophy; no specific group is capable of running everything. Furthermore if they do, can they do it accurately so that no specific group loses out to another. Also what becomes of the people that become dependent on these programs? But more about the game; it’s obviously frustrating keeping up with all the people to take care. Is this game supposed to evoke sympathy for the altruists that somehow feel it’s their responsibility to care for me and everyone else in society that they feel needs help? It’s not even people that need help; they want to help people that may be capable of helping their selves, if given the chance.
I swear ever single one of these games is massively frustrating. So I get the point, living in a completely over governed and restrictive nation is a full time job. I get it. The last game I played was the farming game where you are supposed to harvest foods and monitor and clean up any troubles you have with terrorists, farm wastes, and Mother Nature. So what happens is you plant crops and along comes your little customers and they get a few good pieces of vegetables but then comes along some terrorists and evil mother nature, and what is equivalent to the potato famine and you give your little customers, which are children, ecoli and diaherrea among other things. So what are they getting at? This one I agree with somewhat, I feel like we are being poisoned by the food we have to choose from and the worst part, the organization that is supposed to protect us, the FDA is massively influenced by lobbyists and other industries that have a vested interest in profiting from our need for food. That is a game I would consider developing, a game that influences politicians. Laws get passed by the powerful, mainly the industries that are paying the lobbyists, and all the other laws that are getting passed are ones that keep the politicians in office. These would be the laws that support their constituents.
The second game I engaged in was not a very fun game; I could not figure out exactly how to play, even though I am a well seasoned gamer and read the instructions carefully. It was also an Arcade Wire game, which are hosted by Shockwave, which is great to see because Shockwave has been around since my middle-school days—its good to see the site is still strong. The game was called Bacteria Salad. The goal of the game was to harvest lettuce and tomatoes for consumption by consumers. One had to make sure the threats, cows, terrorists, and rainstorms, did not infect the crops. I could not ever figure out how to stop the threats from contaminating the crops, so I was never successful for long, but it was fun to watch people eat the bad food and become ill. Overall, I believe that the social commentary was laid on too thick, and that it hurt the fun factor of the game, which means it was not successful as either commentary or a game.
The third game I encountered was called Faith Fighter, and was by far the best game I played for this assignment. It was a typical side-scrolling, versus fighter game—but it featured gods of today’s prominent world religions as the characters one could use to fight. It came complete with special moves, like Buddha’s dharma wheel projectile and Jesus’ Holy Ghost projectile that looked like dove in a blue fireball. The game was true to the versus-game aesthetic, which made it instant fun. The commentary of the game was also well received by this particular audience; I found the joke about the world religions constantly fighting a bit unoriginal, but still a pertinent subject nonetheless. My favorite part of the game was that at the top of the tournament tree was a surprise final fight, with none other than Xenu, the dictator of the Galactic Confederacy and god to the Scientologists. He turned out to be a chump though, not even putting up as good a fight as Buddha or Mohammed. Over it was a solid game with an interesting, somewhat open-to-interpretation commentary.
The fourth and final game I played was not an entertaining or engrossing game at all. The commentary was not veiled nor conveyed in and interesting or creative manner, it was simply blunt. The “game” which was more like a crossword puzzle than a true videogame, was called Corporate Greed: Names, Faces, and Deeds, and can be found under the “Public Policy Games” section of Social Impact Games. Basically one was presented with a grid of boxes filled with corporate tyrants names and faces. It was the gamer’s duty to match the faces with the correct names. After a correct match, one was presented with a multiple-choice question asking what heinous deed they had committed. Lame.
Overall I found the games with creative commentaries were the most effective, and will be the games I remember and ponder later on.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The second time I attempted to play was the fatworld one, but this ended up being a little more complicated than I thought. I tried to make a world and go through the orientation of the game but my character kept on overworking it self and panting. But since I couldn’t figure out how to buy it food, I wasn’t able to visit all the places I needed to in order to actually begin playing the game. In effect my character started walking really slow and I wasn’t sure what to do with it so I kind of gave up with that one. Not fast moving enough for me, like the shopping one.
I wanted to try the Elemental game but you had to contact the creators, etc before you could play.
One of the more entertaining games I played had to have been the faith fighter where you could choose a character like Muhammad, Jesus, God or Buddha. Each of them had their own special powers that they could perform. You basically played a three round boxing match between them all. The best part was that they had a disclaimer at the beginning of the game stating that the creators had no intention of specifically targeting any specific religion, but rather to have people understand that wars are fought over different religious beliefs.
My own game:
If I were to have to create a game I might consider setting up something where the player would be a technician in a lab working on stem cell research. In order to proceed with research the lab techs would need to prove to the government that stem cell research is effective and the research is in need. Also you would have to deal with the protestors against this technology. Not only that but funding must be raised in a variety of ways and decisions must be made on which direction the research will go in. Sounds like a way complicated game so I’m not sure how I could work it all out, but after skimming through some of the other games they seemed to involve a lot of variables as well, so it may not be that bad.
The next game that I played was the McDonald's social impact game. This game was more difficult than anything else, trying to perform all of the activities to keep everyone happy and the company making money. I must say I never thought about all of the individual decisions that go into making a business run successfully. I thought it was interesting that the environmentalists would be angry over the cutting down of the rain forest, but not over the over slaughtering of the beef. All in all, this game was pretty entertaining and did try to bring to light the impacts that McDonald's has in the business, environmental and consumer world.
I am still not convinced of the avenue of social impact games, but I think that it will be interesting to see where this medium will go in the years to come.
My social impact game, relating to my final hypertext project idea, deals with inequalities in health care. The game is pretty dark (again). The object is to create a character with the "correct" circumstances to attain health care and health insurance, five different ways. You must choose different combinations of class/income, race, religion, and base-line health. If you don't choose the right combinations in a certain amount of time (the time before you develop a serious disease and need health care), you die.
A "correct" combination could be: middle-class, Irish, Catholic, pre-disposition to high cholesterol.
Another "correct" combination could be: no income (therefore can apply for Medicaid), Cambodian, Buddhist, no known health problems.
You must be careful about putting certain combinations together, such as "no income" together with "pre-disposition for diabetes, stroke, and heart disease," as you may just not get health care coverage.
The game would also include an appeals system, in which you could argue your case to an insurance company in order to try to gain health insurance for you and your family. But again, you need to be quick, as time is ticking!!
The point of this satirical game is to raise awareness about inequality in health care and health coverage due to social, racial and economic factors.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I next played Ben’s game. This was a really heartwarming game designed for kids with Leukemia. I think it was great that someone from Lucasarts designed this game for the make a wish foundation. It is actually quite a good game, although the message from Ben made me want to cry. I think that attacking the red cells that are sick is a great way to help kids understand why they are having bad side effects. This game would probably also help them keep their mind on something entertaining, which is also not very strenuous. At first I was worried about what would happen if you lose, but even when your health gets really low you never lose. This is a great message to cancer patients especially, kids. I think that giving them hope and motivating them to fight is a great idea, and if a game helps then that’s great.
Lastly I played the MacDonald’s Video game. It was pretty entertaining that the makers of the game stated that the MacDonald’s video game in no way mimics factual events, yet in reality they are doing just the opposite. It was actually pretty well thought out game, but it made me somewhat depressed to play it. I am glad I don’t eat at places like MacDonald’s. I felt bad for the cute animated cows I was slaughtering and trying to keep workers from organizing was damn near impossible. An interesting game, but not one I would want to play for fun.
Designing a Video Game:
If I were to design a Video game it would be entitled Viruses. It would be a game that would educate the general population about how to avoid getting the common cold. It would be like a board game like Mario Party. All players would start at the start spot and then have to roll the dice and move the appropriate number of spaces. At each space there would be a question or a game that would involve avoiding or catching a virus.
If a player makes the wrong choice in a question or loses a game then they get sick and cannot move spaces for a certain number of turns. If they get the right answer or win the game they get immunity, therefore if they land on a space where they are exposed to the same virus they are immune and therefore get to move another space forward.
Each space would also give a short fact about disease around the world. There would be spaces for HIV, Small Pox, HCV, Chicken Pox etc… This would help players become aware of the viruses around the world. At the end of the game there would be links to websites and organizations that explain how people can help donate money to fund research against viruses around the world.
What are surfaces that expose people to viruses called?
What are primary cells that initiate the specific immune system?
When you are exposed to someone with a flu or cold what is the number one thing you can do to protect yourself?
Wash your hands?
Can you get the same cold virus twice?
No, once exposed to a specific virus and recover from it and become immune?
Does Vitamin C help with colds?
It has been shown in several studies that Vitamin C can help decrease symptoms of the common cold.
Fight infected cells and viral nucleic acid: You are a B-Cell that can produce antibodies to fight of viruses. You must create an antibody that matches the antigen on the infected cell or virus. Create the antibody and as you travel through the blood stream attack any pathogens that match your antibody. Don’t attack your own healthy cells or you will end up hurting yourself.
Travel through the human landscape: You are in the airport and you must avoid exposure to as many viruses as possible. You are equipped with sanitary wipes and can wash your hands in the public toilets. Try to minimize the number of viruses you are exposed to while traveling from one side of the airport to another.
Name that cell: match the description of the immune cell with the name.
Name that virus: match the virus with the description.
Goal of the game: Once you reach the end of the game you have become immune to all the viruses on the board. At this point to win the game you must take your own blood and make vaccines that will make all the other players on the board immune and healthy. Once accomplishing this you win the game.
The game would start out with an introductory scene in which a divine-like voice asks two characters, “Why were you put here on this planet? What would you like to spend all yours days going?”
Character B responds, “I have no idea why I’m here, but all I know is I want to feel good, be with people I love, and make them feel good too.”
Character A says, “Yeah, that sounds about right!”
The voice says, “O.K. How are you going to do that?”
Character A says, “Well, I guess I’ll go to business school, get a high-paying job, raise my family with Christian morals, and then we’ll be financially secure so we can always be fed and relax. And drive big cars.”
"Be my guest,” responds the voice.
Character B says, “Ehh…I’ve got my own plans in mind,” and exits the screen.
Now the game play begins. Players race to get into the best universities, have the most prestigious summer internships, and then climb the ladder of the corporate world while raising a family. Digital rolls of dice move characters along a virtual playing board through these life milestones.
The player who gets to the center of the board first wins.
He is congratulated, but then goes to jail for the rest of his life for insider trading.
The frame pans right and shows the lives of Character B and his friends. Character B is performing a live DJ set for a crowd of ten thousand on the shores of Miami. People are going nuts, and Character B knows he has found a real form of living.
One of his friends, Character C, is shown running a club in San Francisco, where hundreds gather every night to be happy and dance. Character D is shown on the set of an independent film in the Mojave Desert. Character E, a professional surfer and skateboarder, is shown feeling fresh and invigorated on the beach in Costa Rica.
Finally, an interactive web page provides links to all sorts of websites, blogs, and online communities that foster music, film, and extreme sports. Hopefully, inspiration ensues.
Don’t sit in a cubicle; get out and do something REAL.
Some of the websites may be:
Everyone Is Famous
Rodney Mullen, Best Of
Moontribe - The sound of Moontribe is the sound of possibilities realized.
Blow Up SF – Club Party
“What do you call a huge super-seekrit electro/house/hip-hop party in a downtown warehouse? A new religion: DANCISM.”
Girls Behind the Camera
My social impact game, called “Nosy Neighbors” would present the difficulties facing people when presented with a world where information can easily run rampant. I don’t know if any of you have visited the website, http://www.rottenneighbor.com, but it’s fascinating and lends itself to a potentially great game. In it, you can type in your address and you are given a satellite map of your neighborhood along with blips that indicate comments about the neighbors that surround you. The idea of providing extremely negative personal information about your neighbor might seem appealing in the moments which you hear them screaming at their wives for the fiftieth time this week, but how do you think publishing those thoughts can affect their lives?
My game provides a simulated environment where you are the neighbor who is being slandered. You go about your daily activities but are presented with a very stressful life, where you must make choices and sacrifices in order to survive. You get points for keeping your family clothed and fed, while not being ostracized by the community at large. A roll of the dice will determine your lifestyle and your job. In no way will you be able to support your family at the economic level that they desire and still be able to give a good impression to your neighborhood. You will be given options – either neglecting the upkeep of your house to make sure you get to work on time, or making sure the outward appearance of your home is perfect but failing to meet the needs of your family which propels a loud fight between you and your spouse. Later, you find out that your neighbor has posted that you are either abusive or a drug lord, assumptions he makes because of the state of your marriage and/or your home. The game unfolds as people around you react to such a posting. You lose your job, you are investigated by the cops and people in general, no longer respect you. Points accumulate as you attempt to navigate your extremely stressful life; the more difficult it becomes, the more advanced your level. Winning the game is virtually impossible, as you success is hindered by more obstacles because your reputation has been severely maligned.
This game propels us to understand the true significance of internet information. Virtual gossip is not innocent and can deeply affect the lives we have outside of the digital world. By putting us in the shoes of someone who has been slandered, the game challenges us to look deeper into possibilities of internet information. Sometimes misunderstanding and misrepresentations of the truth have profound repercussions that cannot be easily overcome. “Nosy Neighbors” tries to engage our understanding of the difficulties facing us in a world where an angry comment can be technologically amplified and lead to the detriment of a person’s success.
This social impact game would be centered on persuading people to care. Each person would be able to create an avatar of his choice. The goal of the game would be to set up fundraisers and donation events while managing available funds. The more people you can get on your team, the more events you can put on because of increased funds. After every event, you and your crew will travel to Nicaragua and put the donations and funds to use in building houses, providing vaccinations, supplying nutritious food and clean water, and promoting education— all of which cost money. The challenge in the game will be to manage funds, since putting on a successful event also requires quite a bit of money.
The purpose of this game is to encourage young adults to act for a cause. Since the game will provide a massive amount of options and ideas for events, it will make young adults realize that giving back to underprivileged members of our world can be fun and fulfilling. Along with the challenge of managing money, the main goal of this game is to be as convincing and moving as possible, in order to attain more supporters and increase awareness.
The game will be a composed of a series of images and representations of members of certain ethnic groups. The player will encounter a series of characters and will have to click and choose which representations are positive and why. The player wins by earning the most points at the end of their journey. This game will be based upon a dscussion of the psychology behind African American female bodybuilding as a sport including its effects on the self-image, emotional well-being, and self-esteem of competitors in terms of its use as a mode of self-expression and self-presentation used to challenge and recreate collective/ individual images of black womanhood in popular media and consciousness. (As opposed to the criminal, the jezebel, and the asexualized mammy). Also a discussion of how this subculture of black female bodybuilders and women body builders in general (women’s participation in sports/ fitness ) act as a postcolonial, gendered, and racialized means of feminist expression. Also how these African American female bodybuilders act as models of African American female identity for black female youth, especially female collegiate athletes, being alternatives to the typical over-sexualized, degraded images of black femininity portrayed in popular media. Also the paradigm shift in American social consciousness and norms of physical desirability that have begun to shift from an obsession with abnormal thinness to extreme levels of muscularity regardless of gender. Also a discussion of the visual aesthetics and an inversion of Eurocentric ideals of beauty-i.e. in bodybuilding it is more aesthetically pleasing to have dark skin because it displays the muscles in a more defined manner and because of this white women are forced to go to extreme tanning lengths to become as dark as they can.
If I created a game it would be called, “Growing Pains”. It would kind of be like life but a little different. Your life will start out as an 7 year old. As your making friends you have to make choice of whether to be a bully or not. If you bully another kid and get caught you get a note home and lose points. You will have choices like do your homework or play video games, another situation where you can lose points. This game will also have a situation that will teach you to run away from strangers.
You’re start doing chores. There will be options like mowing the lawn, helping a neighbor, or cleaning the house. With these chores comes allowance, the more chores you do the more money you get. With these new additions there are still the old choices too of bullying, making friends, homework, and video games. If caught and punished you not only lose points but chances to make money as well. If you don’t do chores and you want something you have the choice to steal the object you want or not. If you steal there is a chance that you will be caught by the police and punished by you parents.
You have choices like playing a sport, joining a club, volunteering, and being a TA. In this level there is a portion where your character starts to take drivers ed. At the age of 17 if your character passes his or her driving test they get their license. Later in this story they get to be the DD at a party. At the party they get offered a drink which they can accept of deny. If they accept the drink they can keep drinking. When drink home from the party the game will with have them get in an accident killing people or severely hurting them. Or the game will have a cop pull you over and breathalyses you. You will have an automatic DUI. The game will then have either scenario play its way through a court trail sentencing the characters. If player does have to go to jail and has made the choice to go to college rejection notices will be sent to the player’s character.
Depending on the choices that the player made in high school they will be able to go to college, find a job, or be in jail. In college you will chose major and the relationships that you want to have. There will be similar situations like in high school with drugs and alcohol. If the character chose work instead they will have options of moving up at their job in proper ways or in ways that could land you in jail. After four years in college or at a job the character will be able to get married or not and or live happily ever after. For a while…You have kids and it’s the same thing every day. You have choices to make like to how healthy you are. Will you cheat on your wife/husband to move up in your career or because your bored with your life.
One applies to the thesis I wrote last quarter for the comm department. I analyzed the ways the 2008 presidential candidates were using new media to target the youth vote and though this scope was very specific, it also forced me to filter through a great variety of political information. I think it would be really great to have a game that asked players a series of questions that would then match them to the candidate with most similar views. It was found in most of my research that while today's youth is becoming more interested and active in politics (due largely to easy access to the internet and social networking sites), they were still more inclined to parrot the views of their parents' or the opinion of their peers. To have questions that pointedly ask about their personal stances on everything from homeland security to health insurance and taxation would be to create a nation of more informed voters and a nature of stronger, more informed opinion. Because the elections are now getting down to the finals days before a representative for each party is chosen, it may be better though, to create a game that establishes each player as "conservative" or "liberal," with a likert-scale type variety for results. Because this game would be online, it could go further to serve as a poll on all the major political issues and could continually collective informtation from today's youth, showing collective national opinion with the percentages that on the news, most commonly only pertain to a small part of the population. I think it would help impressionable minds think independently and to allow them to understand their place in the U.S. government in which participation is key to having an active voice.
A second game that I have thought of but have not developed as fully, is a game that would entertain children while at the same time, promoting greater literacy or writing/reading skills. As a volunteer in classrooms for the past eight years of my life, I am often astonished at how few kids read at the appropriate level for their age. To create a game that incorporates spelling, reading, and grammer, but also makes it fun would be a great service to a community whose learning is becoming so computer-based. I think it should incorporate a goal to the game, like saving the princess does in the popular "Mario" video games. They could fight to overcome obstacles, so pass levels but have to do so through spelling words accurately and quickly, being quizzed on reading, filling in the blank with grammer questions, etc. I used to play typing games of this sort when I was younger. In fact, it's one of my first memories on a computer. But i think if a game like this were developed and utilized in the classroom, kids would become more inclined not only to learn these necessary literary skills, but to become excited by learning them and maybe more willing to explore them independently.
Social Impact Game Idea
The game concept revolves around the simple, and common, platform of a historic strategy game similar to popular game brands such as Hearts of Iron and Age of Empires. The initial aim of the game would be to rule/govern Scotland and lead Scotland though history, primarily to independence, but secondly to flourishing politically and economically on the international scene. Following the basic strategy/action game the simple goal would be to gather resources, build cities, defend/expand the borders, fight battles et al. Ultimately, while the chance to lead Scotland to international glory will encourage the patriotic intent of the player it will not necessarily effect the social change intended. To encourage the players desire for Scottish indepdence it is imperative to base the game in an accurate historical context, educating the player about the historical realities that led to Scotland's absorption into the entity of Great Britain. The game will educate about Scotlands past, and allow the player to virtually chance or avoid the consequences of these events, thus realizing what can be done politically to affect change in Scotland. Additionally, the game will clearly and dynamically highlight the possibilities and affluency that awaits Scotland should it achieve independence.
Ultimately, the game revolves around a historical core allowing the player to interact with AND change history to the players benefit. It will educate and encourage, and perhaps, with awareness raised Scotland can be the new Ireland.
The game would force players into the life of a drug addict, thus revealing how harm reduction alone is inadequate to address the root causes of inequalities in health and access to health care for such a population. Players would be able to choose between two choices in order to advance in the game. Each choice would involve certain implications that can negatively impact the player’s health and, eventually, life. Players would realize how limited their options are regarding one’s ability to survive in such a situation. For example, at the beginning of the game, one would state their gender, age, and ethnicity. In accordance with current HIV and AIDS statistics in the United States, one would be identified as either an HIV positive or negative intravenous drug user. A set of possible actions that could be taken would appear and the player would try to navigate life on the streets as an IDU. One would experience the real life difficulties of trying to balance one’s addiction with one’s needs for survival. Decisions concerning all aspects of life would be addressed: whether to work (if this is even a possibility depending on one’s health status and level of addiction), whether one can have a family (dependant on one’s financial situation as well as health status), whether one would/could receive treatment and where this treatment would be available, and one would also be able to interact with the general public, health care providers, law enforcement, one’s family, and other IDU’s. One’s survival is highly dependent on the choices one makes as well as on the barriers that are firmly placed in our society.
I hope that this game would make it clear that IDU’s are individuals who have fewer resources available to deal with actual and potential health needs that can mean life or death. Likewise, the game would allow users to interact with various harm reduction programs. I hope this would allow others to see the immense potential for such programs and simultaneously allow users to identify how the current system of abstinence significantly affects every aspect of an IDU’s life and potential for healing. Thus, within a social justice framework, it is possible to address the harms of current drug policy not as a matter of individual choice but as a matter of health and well-being.