UPDATE #6: The Final Countdown, new prizes & see what happened to John!
UPATE #5: Watch our video explaining the details of our prototype.
UPDATE #4: Watch Ala' explain his non-profit background and passion for this project.
UPDATE #3: Join our Activist group on Facebook.
UPDATE #1: Jane McGonigal and Jesse Schell backed our project almost instantly.
Youth are the future. The values they learn stick with them throughout their lives and shape our world. Ensuring they have positive experiences in community development experiences is essential to us living in a peaceful planet. Games can teach complex issues and change behavior better than any other method. Here's our pitch for the project, I hope you find it moving and consider supporting it.
Foundations and organizations
invest millions of dollars in programs designed to help teams of youth improve
their communities and the world. Over 80% percent of these projects are
small teams of less than 10 people, and over 50,000 of these projects
fail every year. Countless other youth-led activist organizations fail to meet
milestones or simply disband before achieving their vision, lacking the
information and skills necessary to avoid common obstacles along their path.
Team building is the biggest problem faced by youth activists, simply because it is rarely taught in schools. Our game will teach team building using real scenarios in a multiplayer game where they must form and build teams to succeed.
There are five main components to working well together as a team (read update 1 for the list). These have been researched by experts like Ruth Wageman from Harvard through decades of work dissecting team dynamics. We're creating a playful way to learn about each of these five components throughout different levels and stages of our game. They'll include:
- A single player game where you have to create teams and watch the results of their work
- A multiplayer game where teammates choose roles to accomplish a common purpose
- Scenarios that require forming boundaries between team members
These scenarios will help activists and entrepreneurs in the following ways:
- Games can teach collaboration better than any other medium
- Our game requires people to try out new roles
- We'll have multiple scenarios taken from real situations to allow youth to better learn of the common barriers.
We've finished and tested a paper prototype. Now our partners are ready for something digital that they can easily distribute. Help us make this a reality!
Ala' Diab and Nathan Maton teamed up in 2011 and in that short time have already produced two award-winning games. See Pandora's Blocks, winner of the community choice award at the Global Game Jam 2012 Mason site for our most recent production. Ala' just finished designs for a Facebook game about to be shipped funded by the Department of Education called Mission Admission. Nathan produced several large scale interactive projects like the official Twitter visualization for Super Bowl XLV and Foursquare's I Voted project in 2010. He currently manages Gameful.org, a serious game design community run as a game founded by Jane McGonigal. He's also worked on E-Line Media's Gamestar Mechanic. We're going to be designing and programming the game mostly by ourselves with support from an awesome team of national experts including:
- Dan Norton, co-founder of Filament games
- Charles Amis, game design lead on Gamestar Mechanic
- Jessica Bynoe, youth development expert
- Adam Fletcher, President of Common Action, over a decade of experience training youth
- Brandon Hill, Trainer at the Oasis Center for Youth Development
- Brad Lewis, Youth Development Expert
- Alan Gershenfeld, Co-Founder of E-Line Media
- Abby Kiesa, Youth Coordinator & Researcher
Over the last several years Nathan has devoted time to working extensively with youth activists, running an education policy group while in college, researching how youth develop their values, creating games to build more environmentalists and mentoring students in DC.
Our game uses team building research from Harvard done by Marshall Ganz and Ruth Wageman to focus on the key elements of forming and working effectively in teams. They include 5 key elements of teams: finding a common purpose, forming a team with diverse backgrounds, establishing clear roles, establishing clear boundaries and explicit norms.
In our prototype players have to work in clear roles to find clues and use them to convince NPCs to join a campaign. It is a multiplayer game and the more the players learn to collaborate, the better they'll do. They get to work with a variety of team members from other teams than the one they currently work on outside of the game to better learn their skill set. Then, in the final level, the original team must tackle a more complex problem that relates to their real work.
An example of a similar game is World Without Oil, an environmental alternate reality game where players lived in a fictional world that was running out of oil but took actions in their real lives to improve it. The game helped people create sustainable gardens in their yards and advocate for real policy change. Just like World Without Oil created better environmentalists, we're creating better young change makers.
Over the next 6 months we will turn our physical prototype into a digital game if funded. Support us to get to play it!