Hi, it's good to hear that there would be efforts from the government to
make games for school violence prevention.
I'm a graduate student studying serious games in Korea and my undergraduate
major is English education.
I have a special interest in educational game design, so I might be able to
share some of my ideas relevant to your topic.
* Before getting into the main point,
I'm pretty concerned if the government wants only one game which suits for
kids 5-17, which seems to be a too risky approach. Different age groups
have different needs and interests. Also, giving games to a 5-years-old
kid might have a detrimental effect on the kid's development. What I've
written here is therefore about the games for kids older than 9 or 10.
My opinion about the school bullies in Korea is that they lack, sort of,
empathy for others.
Though I don't agree with the idea that games are a major cause for crimes
(FYI, games-usually MMOs- have been an easy scapegoat to explain social
problems including violent crimes in Korea), children's early exposure to
games with monsters(or other players) to kill might have caused the
children to become insensible to others' suffering.
An example for this is Maple Story, a popular MMORPG among Korean kids. It
has cute monsters which look cute even when they're attacked; there is no
chance for the kids to feel sorry for the monsters and possibly no chance
to figure out the real consequences of the aggressive actions in real life.
What I'd like to point out here is that kids need to know what happens
around them when they do wrong (e.g. bullying) and reflect upon their
behavior. They should be aware of the things happen not only to themselves
but also to the bullied kids and other people, and realize how it hurts.
Based on this point of view, I suggest a few points to consider.(some
of the ideas may not be applicable to kids living in other areas)
I think simulation games can be a good choice to allow kids make their own
choice and learn from their experiences.
Also, first person point of view might be helpful. In a game, there might
be a case when the player is bullied by other NPCs, and first person point
of view could be easier to deliver the feelings of the bullied.
About Co-op style games, kids(and adults!) can still pick on their team
members only because they lost the game. I'd recommend single-play style.
Whatever mechanic you use, you should keep in mind that the
mechanic must represent the things that kids should learn.
An RPG game with monsters which tells you that 'the game will over if you
kill monsters' won't work at all.
It merely says: don't hurt others. It doesn't provide any reason why
hurting others is bad.
A well designed mechanic should say, for example: if you hurt others, you
don't feel good about it because you know they will suffer.
Cause and effect should be arranged elaborately throughout the game so
that players are provided with valid reasons for every
action they take. Again, 'if you do bad things, the game will over(you will
be punished)' will not work.
Kids need chances to think about their action and its consequences on their
I think a well-written narrative should play an important role in the game,
since the game mechanic may not be that attractive to kids as other MMOs
do. Also, narrative has a great potential in emotional appeal which can
help kids to identify with game characters. Writing a narrative based on
fact+fiction about bullying can be a choice.
Cool graphics and sound effects to create realistic experiences.
Kids are quite familiar to games that have high-quality 3D graphics, so
there should be considerations for this.
Even if a game has armed with great mechanics and narratives, kids might
turn away because of poor quality graphics.
If you develop games running on smartphone this becomes less problematic,
but especially for games running on PC, kids are more likely to complain.
I hope this can be of help:)
What I'd like you to remember is you should let the kids *realize by
themselves *that violence is not the right way to solve problems.
Please do not make them think they are being controlled again with boring
2012/2/2 Suzanna Samstag <jiyuns...@hotmail.com>
> Hi there, I am Suzanna Oh from the Games for Change chapter in Seoul.
> In conjunction with the [Korean] Ministry of Justice, we're looking to
> building games on the prevention of bullying for kids
> ages 5 to 17.
> Any ideas or suggestions of good anti-bullying games would be much
> Best, Suzanna
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