October 18, 2006

Taking a stab

It's great thinking of ideas for games, but executing them is another story. I have this idea about taking on Catholic Social Teaching in a game, but I'm not sure how far I can go with it, particularly with the time constraints of this semester. However, I am ready to try it. I just want to make sure I am being realistic in my goals.

The game I have in mind to tackle one (and more) of the Catholic Social Teaching topics is based on surviving on minimum wage. Inspiration for this game comes from The Oregon Trail that I enjoyed playing as a grade-school student. This game, however, takes a current, edgy spin on that same concept. Oregon Trail was set in the 1800’s and was based on America’s greatness through expansion; however, my game will be based on America’s shortcomings in permitting people to provide the basics of life on a limited income.

The game screen will look like a trail, which the person—the game can choose a woman or a man—will travel from their parents’ home across the screen to get to the goal of financial security, perhaps labeled “the American Dream.” The person will travel along and eventually reach various milestones along the way that they must gather in order to advance. A key element of this game will be the score screen and the speed of the earner. If one survives the heaping monthly bills, steep childcare costs, personal sickness and/or death of a family member, and mental health concerns along the path, the minimum wage earner will earn more points—perhaps in dollars—and the earner will advance more quickly. However, if one does not manage their earnings well, which will often be the case, due to the limited income, the family’s health will decline, the budget will look lower, and the player will slow one’s pace. I’ve been tinkering with the idea of a goal, and I’m not quite sure what exactly I want it to be, but it may include owning a small home with healthy children and a car. However, if one reaches the goal, ironically, the outcome will be empty, due to how much one will have to give up in achieving that status. In the final score screen, I hope to include a general or individual reminder, which states what the participant gave up along the way.

This game spans across the board of Catholic Social Teaching, from the dignity of the human person, the option for the poor, solidarity of the human family, the common good, the dignity of work, participation, the universal purpose of material things and the social nature of the human person. What the person on minimum wage in my game hopes to create is a life of value and meaning in a world that has structures in place which may not permit it—one of which is minimum wage.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at October 18, 2006 9:19 AM | TrackBack
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