Thursday, May 22, 2008

Game Proposal: Teaching kids about drug and alcohol usage

For my social impact game I thought that I would make a game based on the idea of trying to teach kids how to be responsible when it comes to starting and using drugs. Kids will enter their real age and it will create a character that is their age, but ages more quickly so that they can be thrown into complicated and mature situations more quickly in the game before they encounter them in real life. When the kids enters their real age, however, the game will determine whether or not they need to be informed on drugs and alcohol or it will encourage them to go and talk to their parents if they feel uncomfortable or have any questions. It will also ask if their family members have had any problems with addictions and the game will incorporate this aspect later. Kids will be approached by their friends who ask them if they want to drink or try a drug and the kid playing will have to choose what will happen if they choose whether or not to take the drug. If the kids decide to take the drug the game will show an alternate scenario of what would have happened if they had chosen not to take the drug or drink, but if the kid decides not to take the drug they’ll get some sort of reward. For example, if their friends want them to come and drink with them and they decide not to and just go home instead their mom will have a surprise for them that they would not have gotten if they had gone out to drink/do drugs with their friends.
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!

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