In conversation about poverty
In the cheerful augmented reality game, children aged 8 to 12 set off together with dog Bonnie in a familiar environment: their own neighbourhood. Along the way, all kinds of sporting tasks and questions pass by. In this way, the game playfully gets neighbours – young and old – talking to each other. About fun and crazy things, but also about a more difficult topic, namely poverty.
The power of this game
Talking about poverty through a serious game
In the Netherlands, 1 in 9 children grow up in a family with money problems. For many aid agencies, it is difficult to reach these families. The reason is simple: people do not like to talk about money problems, let alone ask for help. Can a serious game help get a conversation going anyway, even if the subject is difficult or uncomfortable?
With that question, welfare organisation KEaRN knocked on our door. The idea soon arose to develop a serious game with augmented reality that could be played in the children’s own neighbourhood. The idea was to playfully bring children into contact with their neighbours and let them solve tasks and questions about poverty together, thus increasing openness in the neighbourhood.
This is how we have tackled it
We wanted to make the serious game about poverty as appealing as possible to the target group. Therefore, we did a lot of research into what children want and expect from such a game. A group of children contributed ideas on what the game should look like. For instance, they thought Bonnie should be a stray dog instead of a cat, as we had first thought. In addition, the children constantly tested the game and we took their feedback seriously. It was important for the children to be able to create their own four-legged friend. And so it happened: in the serious game about poverty, the player is given the option to choose colours, spots and patterns for the dog’s fur.
“Het spel heeft ons gemotiveerd om geld in te zamelen voor de Voedselbank, het is leuk dat je iets voor mensen kunt doen met geldproblemen.’
Speler van BAAS in gemeente Tytsjerksteradiel
This power-up we have realised
In BAAS, a little dog walks down the street in augmented reality. The little dog leads you alternately to questions about poverty and to fun games. Soon the kids are busy. Shooting penalties while Bonnie is goalkeeping, answering questions about money…. And then quickly move on, because Bonnie is already taking you to the next part: tug-of-war! The route is filled in beforehand by the community workers in the backend. This way we make sure that everything fits exactly in the right street. All answers from the serious game on poverty are stored (AVG-proof) in a database. Based on the data, better research can be done into the perception of poverty in the neighbourhoods concerned. This way, the game has even more impact.