Interactive Media Studies students Robert Smayda, Mohammed Al-Mulla, and Drew Ritcher created a board game to help people talk about the challenges of being in high school. This work, which was created in IMS212 The Design of Play was accepted at the Games, Learning and Society conference at the University of Wisconsin. Robert and Mohammed, discuss their experience at the conference below:
Hey this is Robert Smayda and Mohammed Al-Mulla here and on June 13th through June 15th we were at the Games Learning and Society (GLS) Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. Robert is a rising Junior majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Interactive Media Studies. Mohammed is a rising Senior majoring in Finance. What brought us to Madison was a project we started in professor Lindsay Grace’s IMS 212 class during fall semester 2011. We worked on the project most of the converting it into our our final project.
After the end of the semester our team (Robert, Mohammed and Drew Ritcher) worked with professor Grace, improving our game and eventually decided to submit a paper to GLS. Our accepted paper that is titled The High School Game: An Intergenerational Board Game for Discussing Secondary School Stresses. The idea behind the project is during the transition from primary school to secondary school there are critical issues that are left unnoticed to the children. The issues we believed to be of the most concern were sex, drug use, alcohol, and peer pressure.
The way we went about addressing these issues was through a board game. The board game gives the young people a safe and relaxed environment, in which they can fully express their opinion on these touchy topics. One of the key elements of the game is that players must balance their academic and social life to win. This reflects back to the kids that being a well-rounded individual is the best route to success. Another element is after each round of the game there is a debate, in which two players talk about one of the major issues. This is one of the cornerstones of the game. The debates function as a way to share ideas and opinions of these topics. Intergenerational play is also something that is critical to the game. We hope a guidance counselor can moderate and mold the game into a meaning experience for each child playing.
We presented our poster for two hours while we were at GLS. The project was well received and we got fabulous feedback from the attendees. We were the only undergraduate team, as the others were from the game industry, PhD students or other researchers.
After we presented we still had two days left to experience the conference, so we attended several talks and received numerous business cards to some awesome contacts for the future. We would like to thank the IMS department and especially professor Lindsay Grace for all the help and support on our project.
Read our abstract here: http://www.glsconference.org/2012/session.php?sessionId=51
The short paper will be published via Carnegie Mellon’s ETC Press in late 2012.