P O S T E D B Y S T U A R T
The July 13, 2007 edition of the Wall Street Journal Online reported on a new video game called Karma Tycoon designed to teach kids about “fiscal responsibility and social entrepreneurship.”* Web-based youth organization Do Something and JPMorgan Chase teamed up to bring us a game in which
The more good you do … the more Karma you get! The more Karma you get, the more grants your not-for-profit is eligible for .... the more money you get, the more good you can do! The more good you do … the more Karma you get! The more Karma you have, the bigger of a Karma Tycoon you will be!!
Noimsayin? Good, good. Stay with me. According to Do Something CEO Nancy Lublin, “Karma Tycoon is like a vitamin in a Twinkie.”
Coming out at the end of this month is a new arcade-style game for inner-city kids that teaches them the rules of American civic life. Playfully called Bootstraps by its creators, the main screen is tilted to suggest an uneven playing field. On level one (“Mettle Detectors”), players use their joysticks to avoid falling fragments of decaying school buildings. Intermediate levels challenge kids with monsters like the enchantress Mainstream Medea who attempts to demoralize players by flashing images of “illegals” and “welfare queens.” Heavily armored Rightwingthink Tanks chase players down tracks that require them to execute dangerous, life-sapping, maneuvers called “Bell Curves.” The game ends when a player reaches level ten with a few Dignity Points intact.
* “‘Tis Not Simple to Give Gifts” by Christian C. Sahner