Recession is latest focus of games for change

Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:31am EDT
 
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By John Gaudiosi

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - With the recession impacting college students, MTV's college network mtvU is turning to one medium it knows will get attention to help teach students to cope with tough financial times -- a video game.

mtvU has joined with the Peter G. Peterson Foundation's Indebted Campaign to launch the online video game "Debt Ski," which was designed by a university graduate and developed by Persuasive Games that specializes in video games with an opinion.

In the game players guide a pig, Piggy Banks, on a jet ski through various obstacles to maximize his savings, limit his debt and keep him happy while buying food, housing and other items, with the aim of teaching players how to identify and manage debt.

Banks has the choice to buy the latest electronics and clothing which can make him happy -- but plunge him into debt. Spending tsunamis, such as unexpected medical bills or increases to the cost of living, can hit him along the way.

When players lose, they get debt management information.

"Arguably, the economic crisis is one of the biggest challenges facing this generation," said Ross Martin of MTV360.

"College students are dealing with a broad range of issues from rising tuition to entering one of the most daunting job markets in recent history. Students don't sit on the sidelines, they take action -- they become the creative engine driving social change."

"Debt Ski" is the third in a line of games sponsored by mtvU that deal with serious world issues, with previous games focused on Darfur refugees -- "Darfur is Dying" -- and HIV positive patients -- "Pos or Not?"   Continued...

 
<p>The online video game "Debt Ski," in which players guide a pig, Piggy Banks, on a jet ski through various obstacles to maximize his savings, limit his debt and keep him happy while buying food, housing and other items, with the aim of teaching players how to identify and manage debt. REUTERS/Peter G. Peterson Foundation/mtvU/Handout</p>