As those who have been following Gamestar and this blog for a while may know, one of the most compelling uses of Gamestar that we see (and one that was the subject of early academic research into Gamestar) is using game design to allow students to understand and model systems in other areas.
For the past few months, the team behind Gamestar has been working with the folks from the Start Strong Rhode Island initiative at Sojourner House on a game that applies this concept to an interesting (and perhaps unexpected) area: healthy relationships. Just like games (or biological systems, or mechanical systems, or technological systems or… well, you get the idea), a social environment is a system, and our theory is that by playing, making and sharing games based on social system dynamics, kids will gain a better understanding of how the social systems they inhabit work and be in a better position to deal with issue like gender-based violence, bullying and online safety.
This new game, The Real Robots of Robot High, includes a brand new original world and storyline (featuring the cast of the the titular reality tv series — the longest running and most successful in Robotville). While the game builds on the technology and concepts behind Gamestar, it allows for very different kinds of gameplay and game making. Instead of platforming and blasting, think, for example, about games where characters compete to spread (or prevent the spread) of rumors or challenge each other to see who can become the most influential.
This summer, we’re looking for a core group of teachers who might be interested in helping us beta test the Real Robots in preparation for its official release in the fall. Interested teachers can learn more and sign up for the beta by following this link.