Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Social Impact Game

I have a few ideas for a social impact game, primarily based off of my own interests. It seemed to me that the trend for these games was the purpose of education. This education was both traditional, offering games that benefitted academic skills like math, but also on a grander social scale. Both of course, are valuable. With that said, the following are my ideas. I'm finding it hard to choose.

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.

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