Narrative Game Prototype

I’ve decided to split this post into several parts so that it can be clear to me if and when I use them while implementing my game. Serious games are in my view harder to implement than regular style games because they have two main aspects: the game aspect and the information aspect. Both must be structured in a way that contribute to a seamless experience. The game I’m hoping to design is about illiteracy and illiterate people (mainly in Egypt).

The main audience for this game will be my friends in class and generally people who received a good education. The obvious reason is that people who can’t read/write won’t really benefit from the game, and also because the aim targets educated people in telling them more about the aspects of illiteracy.

The game will have a few main goals including:

  • Raising awareness about the daily struggles that people who can’t read/write face
  • Highlight the importance of receiving an education that promotes reading for all age groups
  • Provide statistics and information about literacy rate in Egypt and to emphasize the impacts of illiteracy on the small and large scale
  • Have people think about their role and how the channels of contribution that they can be part of to help eradicate illiteracy

I want to collect information in a variety of methods. My hope is to be able to talk with a person who is at least semi literate (meaning that they know the alphabet but can’t exactly read fluently). I’ve managed to catch some statistics from here , here and here.
There’s an interesting story/article that I read over here and here. Examples of literacy campaigns around Egypt here, here and  here.

The game structure could be divided into 3 parts: the first having some scenarios that demonstrate the daily challenges that illiterate people face, from not being able to read basic signs to other things .. This could be done by presenting the gamer with unknown symbols and asking them to respond to them with in the context of the scenario(Scenarios can include, needing to read a road sign, a grocery list, price tags/product labels etc). The information presented in this section would include statistics and information about the struggles of illiterate people to go about their daily life.

The second part could be focused on the game character facing serious consequences due to their illiteracy and deciding to join a literacy class (although the gamer has the ability to choose not to). Some scenarios could come in here to demonstrate that these classes are usually full and then the information about illiteracy rates.

The third part would revolve around the fact that the illiterate person might have received some sort of assistance with reading and writing but still might not be able to fluently read things, or acknowledge information quickly. Here, information will presented to highlight the importance of reading-based education. Then towards the end, something about how the gamer can help with the issue of illiteracy in general.

It might be a challenge to have a scoring system for such a game, but feedback on the choices that the gamer is making could be provided after each choice or after the game is played til the end.

Creating sophisticated scenarios and well rounded choices will depend on the depth of my research and if I can manage to get hold of a person who can tell me their story, and I believe this is the hardest part. I also made a note to start looking for images and gifs because I know I will need to incorporate those into my prototype.

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7 thoughts on “Narrative Game Prototype”

  1. Love the idea and the research you’ve done already. I don’t think there needs to necessarily be a score. You could have an ending scenario where the person is in a situation that is really critical for someone to be able to read, but then whether the person is able to or not will depend on stuff that happened earlier. It could be like a puzzle type thing where all the words in this last question are ones seen earlier in the game. That sort of gives the player an opportunity to learn the new words even if they don’t learn to read and write per se. If i remember from class, you decided to use some alternate alphabet, right?

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  2. Love the game, i think it’ll actually help people. And i agree with the Dr. i don’t think a score will be a necessarily good idea. Maybe do like a video with words and pronunciations to help them learn something new

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  3. Hi!
    I’m a grad student from Kean University in Union, New Jersey and I like the idea for your game so far. I think you’re trying to bring awareness to an important issue in a new and imaginative way.
    An aspect of your game design I’m most intrigued by is that of making the familiar strange. Since you’re game is targeted at bringing awareness of illiteracy to already literate people, I’m curious about this new system of signs you’re going to (hopefully!) create to communicate the reality of life for less literate persons. The idea kind of reminds me of this commercial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vt4Dfa4fOEY). In it, what English sounds like to non-English speakers is illustrated and performed in a rather “trippy” way. The essence of “almost-but-not-quite-understanding”, that confusion and disorientation this commercial is able to capture is something I think you’re aiming for in your work? I think once you nail down that new system, it’ll be an effective way to communicate your message.
    As for the scoring, I agree with Prof Bali about it not being super necessary. I like the idea of there being a final task at the end though that you have to try and complete from things you’ve learned from playing the game. More, I like the idea that this task must be completed in your new alphabet that you create so that it’s REALLY a challenge. Also, it kind of necessitates playing your game multiple times over since players probably won’t pay attention to all the clues to complete the final task they should the first time around.
    I think that would poignantly illustrate the personal difficulty and struggle and frustration of everyday illiterate or semi-literate people face. And, just how hard it is to become literate. (That’s just an idea, though~ Don’t want to hijack your game! You do you 🙂

    Best,
    Kelli~
    @helterskelliter

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    1. For the part about playing the game over and over, there are parts of the game where, if the get a wrong answer, they are redirected to the alphabet page that has some examples. This way, they don’t have to navigate through the entire process again.
      I think of illiteracy as not being able to see words clearly – almost like without glasses. So I’m sort of framing my game around this concept.

      Thank you for your suggestions and helpful comments. Really appreciate that 🙂

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