The American Dream is a mobile game about money management tailored specifically to each player. Think: 'The Sims' meets 'Survivor'.
The American Dream is a mobile / tablet / desktop game that allows players a low-stakes, trial-and-error run at experimenting with spending and budgeting decisions over their simulated life. It's a "choose your own adventure" type game, with a dose of reality. Think: 'The Sims' meets 'Survivor'
I'm creating a referral system to benefit the folks kind enough to become backers through Kickstarter.
Essentially, if you refer a friend who signs up through Kickstarter at the $12 level, you get a trust fund set up in the game with $100. At first, that might not seem like a lot. But, indirect referrals-- you told a friend who signed up, and they who told a friend who signed up) yield $50 per sign up per person! "Liking" and "Sharing" The American Dream through Facebook and Twitter can make you a millionaire in the game FAST! But don't spend it all in one place. You might need it!
How The American Dream works: In the game, players must constantly adjust their budget and manage investments in a dynamic and changing economic climate. Players choose their own starting point by picking almost any career. Then they must spend, save, and strategically plan to achieve the best possible outcome. Each new turn of game-play represents a new year of life, and all of the challenges, both planned and unplanned, that come with it. Players can monitor their relative happiness or success, by comparing scores (“Happiness points”) with other players in the same social network or classroom. In addition, as the player succeeds in the game, the interface changes to reflect decisions made to that point. If a player makes wise decisions, his/her environment aesthetically improves. Likewise, if poor decisions are made, the interface and rich media used in the game becomes more basic, or less “shiny.” And, the players finds themselves living in less-desirable environments.
The game will have two different deployments: Commercial, which can be played privately or connected to player's Facebook account. Or, the educational deployment (no Facebook integration), which will allow parents and teachers to monitor and facilitate a student's progress. In addition, the game’s “Lifespan” can be adjusted at the time of licensing to accommodate the institution's needs, semesters / quarters, weeks or individual visits.
The gameplay throughout the length of the game will represent roughly 60 years in a person’s post-school, adult, financial life (each turn representing approximately 1 year.)
All or Nothing!!!
Please help support this project. If we don't meet our initial goal of $45,000 in 30 days, no money changes hands! We've selected some rewards relevant to The American Dream to thank everyone for their generous support. Also, for those signing up for the $12 level, you'll be eligible for our Kickstarter Referral Trust Fund (see our Updates for details)! And please see our full descriptions to the right:
"MIllion Dollar" Reusable Insulated Lunchbox
Credit / Business Card Holder
Future Transportation (concept)
What will funding be used for?
Our initial goal for our Kickstarter funding is $45,000. This will mostly go towards assembling a small team of developers to create a framework and working model. We'll perform user testing (on various devices/platforms) to ensure the game can be played, and understood by the target audience. And, we'll also check to make sure they learned something.
The total estimated cost of the game's design, development and deployment is around $120,000. So, the more we exceed our initial goal, the nicer the game can be. And, the faster we can get it into the hands (literally) of a ton of people!!!
Graphic Design. Elements of the game need to be aesthetically pleasing, easy to understand, AND easy to interact with. Since the the game will be developed for smart-phones, tablets and desktops, care has to be taken into the decisions regarding a consistent user experience across different devices.
Media Licensing. Though Creative Commons/public domain sites are a great source of media, some elements in the game must come from commercial sources.
Development/programming/security. This is a game that emulates a lifetime of experiences. So, the programming can get pretty complicated. Just like life. And, complicated games are expensive to build. For our educational deployments, care also needs to be taken to ensure the privacy of our younger players while allowing their parents and teachers to facilitate their learning when necessary.
Finally, marketing. Releasing the app on iTunes, the Android Marketplace, and "sharing" on Facebook, will certainly give a good start to spreading the word about The American Dream. But, that won't be enough. Significant effort will go to reaching educators around the country. In 2014, new financial literacy requirements will be implemented for high school students in at least 16 states. We will focus on marketing to educators letting them know this game is relevant, meets the new educational requirements, is safe for their students, and makes their job as a teacher easier.
How Far Along is the American Dream?
This project was conceived in 2007, but formal plans to design the game did not begin until 2009. We've been waiting to begin development until certain technologies and frameworks were revealed to the market which make it possible, and efficient to take on the development process. We think now is the time.
Since 2009, we have worked out the major components of the game's content and design, so that when the technology was available we could begin.
Curriculum. Though the financial literacy topics in the game are not taught in a typical classroom type format, learning definitely will take place. In order for that to happen, there are certain facts crucial to personal finance that must be delivered. We've been working with a professor of personal finance for over two years to define financial topics and issues that surface in peoples lives to complicate them financially. We've obtained all the mathematical formulas centered around money management to make the game function like life does. We'll be providing players a glossary of terms and working examples of all of the topics necessary to survive in the game, AND those required to pass a final exam in personal finance. We'll also be aligning the content to state and federal financial literacy guidelines.
Gameplay Design. This game emulates life. Just like life, paying bills and balancing your budget is a reiterative process requiring constant balance.
But...life is random. "Sh*t" happens. And, just like life, things can happen to anyone. And, usually those things occur to varying degrees. So we've taken the time over the last few years to think through the varying kinds of events that add stress to one's life. And, if not dealt with properly, can lead to financial crisis. Car accidents, childrens' braces, natural disasters, lay-offs, disability, aging family members are just a few in a long list of struggles people need to work their way through.
Just a Few Life Events You Might Encounter:
See the gameplay flow diagram.
Data Gathering. We want the game to mirror the real world as closely as possible, but still provide for an interesting game. We are using government data such as: starting salaries for over 500 jobs, costs of living in cities around the country, and costs associated with raising a family. We are using real numbers for just about anything you can think of that a person would spend money on in their lifetime (the important things...not how much a pack of gum costs in Wichita).
Board of Advisors:
Here are some individuals who have agreed to lend support and guidance as we move forward with our project.
- Jon Engelhardt, PhD - Dean, College of Education, Baylor University
- David Marshall, PhD - Professor of Personal Finance, Miami University
- Megan Stewart - Principal & Co-Founder at Clickstream Learning, Inc
- Randi Thomas, Esq., JD - Director of Institutional Relations, Office of the President, Miami University / Chair, First Miami University Student & Alumni Federal Credit Union
- Jennifer Whiting, JD - Intellectual Property Attorney, J. Whiting Law
For more information about the board of advisors, see brittcarr.com.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge $5 or moreYou selected
LEVEL: CONTRIBUTOR-- Help out in the game building process! You'll have access to the beta releases and forums of "The American Dream." Help us define problems with the beta and help us decide on interface design choices.Estimated delivery:
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LEVEL: CUSTOMER-- Get an advanced, unlimited copy of the game and we'll also send you a cool "I funded the American Dream" sticker. You will also have access to the beta release and forums.Estimated delivery:
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LEVEL: DONOR-- Don't waste money buying lunch every day. Save cash for your retirement with the "Million Dollar Lunch bag", guaranteed to save you money. We'll send you this reusable, insulated, foldaway lunch bag, and, you'll also receive the rewards listed above. Please contribute $15 extra dollars for international shipping.Estimated delivery:
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LEVEL: FAIRY GODMOTHER / GODFATHER-- Keep your cards (business or credit) safe and use them in style with our customized card holder. In addition, you'll also receive the rewards listed above. Please contribute $15 extra dollars for international shipping.Estimated delivery:
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LEVEL: ENGINEER: Since the game takes place in your future, you'll need transportation to get you around. Backers at this level get the game's future cars named after them!Estimated delivery:
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LEVEL: SUGAR DADDY / SUGAR MOMMA-- Stay cool and sexy in an "I funded the American Dream" T-Shirt. In addition, you'll also receive the rewards listed above. Please contribute $15 extra dollars for international shipping.Estimated delivery:
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LEVEL: BENEFACTOR-- Have a street/neighborhood in the game named after you! The American Dream includes a number of streets and neighborhoods used to distinguish properties in different parts of town as the player buys or sells real estate. In addition, you'll also receive the rewards listed above. Any international shipping will be on us!Estimated delivery:
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LEVEL: PATRON-- Have a Fortune 100 corporation with your name on it! In the game, the "Your Name Here" Corporation makes several thousand American dreams come true every year. In addition, you'll also receive the rewards listed above. Any international shipping will be on us!Estimated delivery:
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LEVEL: ANGEL / DEVIL: You choose which character you want to be in the game: Deliver the good news as a rich Aunt or Uncle giving money to their favorite niece/nephew, or the Spokesman for the "Grand Publishing Sweepstakes." Or be an IRS Audit Agent / Fund Manager that might have to to deliver the bad news. In addition, you'll also receive the rewards listed above. Any international shipping will be on us!Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)