Game Elements:

The title of the game is Start the Talk, funded by the US Department of Health & Human Services and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The URL of where the game can be found is: http://www.gamesforchange.org/play/start-the-talk-underage-drinking/

Learning Objective:

The game aims to teach parents how to speak to their children about underage drinking and also informs children about the dangers of underage drinking. The cognitive process is most affected by the game. The game allows parents to think about what they’re learning about and how they are going to respond.

Formal Elements: 

In this game there is one player engaged in the game but there is more than one character. The game is cooperative not competitive due to their only being one player. The primary game objective is to talk to the character of the child in the game about underage drinking and have the child decide that they should not partake in underage drinking. In the game there aren’t any rules. The game is based on conversation and the player is able to choose what they want to say. Having no rules complements the game because there is no right or wrong in the game, just a matter of how the player wants to approach the situation. There are no resources acquired or spent in the game, achievements are earned/acquired in the game. Conflict in the game is introduced when the parent approaches the child about underage drinking, it is maintained throughout the conversation and it is resolved at the end of the conversation when the child speaks about what their parent has spoke to them about and what their take on underage drinking is. The game prevents the player from typing their own responses, instead they are given multiple options of responses and the player chooses one. This limitation contributes to both the learning and game objectives because the provided responses help the parent with things to say and how to approach the situation when having this talk. If the parent knows what to say and how to approach the situation then their game objective will be easily accomplished. The game ends when the player reaches the “ENOUGH FOR TODAY” achievement. The outcome may or may not be a conflict to the objectives depending on if the child wants to partake in underage drinking or avoid it.

Dramatic Elements: 

There are two main characters in the game, the parent and the child. The player is the parent in the game. The challenges that are presented to the player in the game are the child’s responses to what the player has said to the child. The player must know what to say, how to say it and when to say it. The game takes place in the fictional home of the parent and child. The general premise to the story is that there has been underage drinking going on and the parent has heard about it and is worried about their child getting involved, and it uses an emergent narrative. From Bartle’s Taxonomy, an achiever would enjoy playing this game.

Functionality, Completeness, & Balance:

The game is fully functional, complete, and balanced. All voices are being represented in the game.

Fun and Accessibility:

The game is engaging and promotes learning by allowing the player to think about what they’re going to say before they say it. What the player chooses to say to the child is meaningful in the game, which relates to both the learning and game objectives. There are no broken parts of the game and it is easy to learn how to play.





This entry was posted in FA16-Project 23 on by .

About Robert O. Duncan

I'm an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences at City University of New York, with joint appointments in Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroscience. I also have an appointment as a Visiting Scholar at New York University. My research interests include cognitive neuroscience, functional magnetic resonance imaging, glaucoma, neurodegenerative disorders, attention, learning, memory, educational technology, pedagogy, and developing games for education.

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