Games that teach financial literacy

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Oct 5, 2008, 7:21:10 PM10/5/08
to Games and Learning South Africa
Steve, many thanks for the invite to the group!

A quick intro.My name is Alan Barclay and I have fairly recently
returned to Cape Town after a 7 and a half year stint in Australia, my
most recent job there being a Commercial Manager for Vodafone where I
managed a group of outsourced channel distribution partners.Prior to
that I studied Accountancy at Unisa and worked in various
organisations mainly in Finance/Commercial roles.I am completing an
EMBA at UCT's Grad school of business.

"A global crusade is under way to teach personal finance to the
masses" was the sub-heading of a leading article in the April 3rd,
2008 edition of the Economist magazine.In fact,of late there has been
a significant reference to the need to educate people on financial
literacy in various newspapers and other forms of media.The whole
issue of financial literacy has become even more relevant give the
recent credit crisis in the US and elsewhere.

I am in the process of developing a range of video/PC software games
that aim to teach kids and adults money education skills in a fun but
challenging way.The range of games will cater for most age groups and
literacy levels, starting with a reasonably basic version for the
previously disadvantaged individuals(PDI's) and building up towards
people who are well educated ( but not necessarily on matters relating
to money).My research indicates that we are still failing to equip
school going children with good money management knowledge and skills.

Although there are board games that aim to teach money skills and also
some PC games that achieve a certain level of money education ( Rich
Dad's cash flow game, the SIMs ( to a certain extent),etc), none of
these games to my knowledge teaches a comprehensive money education
"syllabus" including savings goals, budgeting,investments, compound
interest,taxation, shares,cash flow management, etc together with a
consumer price guide and how the choices we make in life can lead to
either positive or negative consequences.

How do we make this "hard" stuff fun? I think I may have found a way.

By immersing the financial literacy principles and learnings into some
type of "game of life" that rewards the player/s for achieving their
savings goal targets.They will play in a virtual world which includes
shopping malls, places of employment ( which they get to choose from),
places to live ( once again they choose),places to shop, places to
visit, etc, etc.They roam the virtual word making decisions which
impact one way or another on their predetermined savings goal.They are
provided with temptations, obstacles and challenges throughout the
game and they get to learn what things cost and deal in real Rands, as
opposed to some virtual currency such as simileons ( The
Sims).Naturally, good graphics, animations and sound would be vital
features of the games.

They will build their own character and profile at the outset of the
game and then set out to choose and then achieve their savings goals
( short and long term).In the process they have to earn an income,
live somewhere & pay for the privilege,purchase goods,have fun, help
look after the environment,invest their money,make lots of decisions,
keep in touch with their friends,contribute to the village/town/city
they reside in,etc,etc.They progress in the game as they make progress
on their savings goals.In this way, the games should satisfactorily
meet the assessment criteria of the educational syllabus.Although in
this country we do not as yet have an official financial literacy
syllabus per se, both the UK and Australia have recently introduced
financial literacy as core subjects.In the UK, its called financial
capability and economic wellbeing.

I have been working on the concept and the games for a while now.I
have purchased a game engine and I have a developer busy with a
"prototype" or demo of the generic game.I have self-funded the
development to date but I am looking for a strategic partner/sponsor
to help me develop and market the games.Its an ambitious project but I
believe its desperately needed.Games are becoming increasing popular
as we all know and I know that some countries are using games such as
SIMs,Tycoon and Warcraft in their classrooms.

I would love to hear what you guys think of the potential of the games
and whether you would like to contribute and/or participate in any
way.My cell no is 0790168865 and my email address is

Hope to hear from you!

Patrick Kayton

Oct 9, 2008, 7:45:12 AM10/9/08
to Games and Learning South Africa
Alan, as you know, I think your product has excellent potential. And I
am still keen to help you along in any way that I can. As soon as you
are ready to show and discuss any of your outputs, I'll make the time
to take a look.

Have you made any progress re finance?

Danny Day

Oct 10, 2008, 8:07:07 AM10/10/08
to Games and Learning South Africa
Might I suggest looking at casual and web-games for inspiration and
guidance on your graphics and gameplay? You don't need cutting edge 3D
nor a large "immersive" world to "lure" players into your game. All
you need is a fun gameplay mechanic and a good theme and people will
play, look at Diner Dash or anything by PopCap Studios.

Dylan Busa

Oct 28, 2008, 8:17:18 AM10/28/08
to Games and Learning South Africa
Hi Alan

I think that Danny Day is correct. More important than flashy graphics
is good gameplay. Where choices need to be made, I would suggest
investing in really good gameplay dynamics.

Further, I work for Mindset Network (, an NGO
specialising in the creation of high quality curriculum aligned
digital content for the schooling and health sectors. Although you are
correct in stating that there is no dedicated curriculum statement for
financial literacy, many aspects are covered in both Economic and
Management Sciences (EMS) for grades R - 9 and Mathematical Literacy
for grades 10 - 12. We have done work (mainly video production) in the
area of financial literacy and are planning a project on Mathematical
Literacy (about 25% of the curriculum relates directly to financial
literacy). As such, we would be very happy to get involved to support
your project at either a conceptual or curriculum/pedagogical design



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