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SGS Feature: 'Building Better Budget Games'

Today's main feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source highlights the creation of Budget Game, a card

Jason Dobson, Blogger

January 26, 2007

2 Min Read

In today's main feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source, which deals with games created for training, health, government, and other uses, we present a summary of a Serious Games Summit D.C. session that covered the need for better budget games that both educate and inform. The session, which was presented by Michael Gesner, the CEO and creative director for Dragonfly Game Design (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory), and Dave Rejeski from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, illustrated a serious game prototype they created as a means to “help reach young people with information on how budget and policy decisions effect us all.” In this excerpt, the feature describes the reasoning behind the game's design, as well as why the developers used popular collectible card games as a template for its gameplay: “They at first thought that the front end needed to be visually pleasing, but soon realized it didn’t matter until the backend was solid. In designing the back end, they eventually settled on a card game type system that would have a single cycle and then show meaningful results. This was done to make for an easy paper prototype of the system, and allow players to learn how the game functioned after a single cycle of moves. This was in contrast so many other budget games that depended on a series of moves to see the consequences of any one action. Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, and other games where a single card could have a variety of effects on the entire game were researched. The idea taken away was that a single card would represent the cumulative effects of a policy decision over a number of years. The cards were made as results, not algorithms. This also allowed for more cards to be added on the fly with less chance of strange interactions.” You can now read the full Serious Games Source feature on the subject, including more concerning the creation of Gesner and Rejeski's Budget Game. (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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