A Game About Financial Crisis
Financial crisis is here with us but we hope it won’t stay long. In the meantime, a US-based 24-hour college network, MTV’s mtvU, and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation have rolled out a new game called Debt Ski aimed at teaching primarily college students how to identify and manage their debt.
Debt Ski is a simple online flash video game which highlights the danger of excessive debt, challenges young people to avoid destructive financial behavior and teaches ways to avoid being in such kind of trouble. The game is aimed at empowering the young people to make choices on how to alleviate their situation brought about by the financial debt that they will inherit.
In the game, you are basically a pig on a jet ski, picking up money, buying necessities and purchasing personal items that add to your happiness but increases your debt if it exceeds your income. The game will end if you fail to pick up enough necessities or fall too far behind on your debt, which is spelled out for you after each round. A big part of the game is also avoiding falling for personal items that makes you spend more if you pick them up.
Debt Ski is very simple but I think it can help the players to grasp the need for personal debt management in a way that’s fun and engaging. Your income should not exceed your expenses or you will be in trouble. The game is also realistic because it takes into account necessary purchases, discretionary spending and the rare financial situations that could cause your savings to be lost forever.
The game sponsors wish to address a serious issue and it shows that video games can do more than just entertain. They aim to educate and challenge the players in a language that most people now, not just kids, understands.
Educational games do translate real world situation and I think they can be a very good tools in tackling a host of problems. Debt Ski may just be scratching the surface of the financial crisis but it can do a good thing or two by offering some solutions to the problem.
By the way, when you lose the game, you can get more debt management information at the site of the game host. The site are intended for the American audience but the subjects in it applies to all. Happy gaming!
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