UNESCO and the EMC

by Giuseppe Liquori

Burlington, VT – The EMC prides itself on creating games with a mission. BREAKAWAY’s goal is to prevent violence against women by reinforcing a message of gender equality to children and teens. Breath BioFeedback was a game designed to help children with Cystic Fibrosis with their breathing exercises. Continuing this theme, we are currently working on a game in collaboration with the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), as part of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The prototype of the project was developed in the “NowIGetIt” Game Jam hosted by Carnegie Mellon University. The team who created the initial prototype was lead by Erik Harpstead; the initial challenge was proposed by Geetika Dang of MGIEP.

The game’s aim is to demonstrate the Inclusive Growth Economic Model, one part of the larger goal of the game jam – to create a series of prototypes to tackle a serious challenge in the world today. Other teams tackled challenges such as Sensory Overload and the Autism Experience and Recognizing Abusive Relationships.

The challenge of the Inclusive Growth Economic Model team was to “Explore the Inclusive Wealth Index as a tool to demonstrate, through precise indicators, a country’s sustainability prospects. They had to show how the Inclusive Wealth Index presents a tool for countries to develop their macroeconomic fiscal policies and guide their investment decisions by making sustainable development quantifiable and measurable.” The prototype they created in the two day span was handed off to the EMC to refine and update the game.

Our EMC team took the assets from the Game Jam team and Erik Harpstead’s code base to make the game fully playable and better fit the Inclusive Wealth Model. The work the EMC is doing will result in a refined project that will be used as a learning tool, so that anyone can better understand how the three pillars of sustainability – Manufactured Capital, Human Capital, and Natural Capital – interact and influence each other. The final product may be presented at a future UN General Assembly.

The EMC team is comprised of staff and student workers, one being Joshua Thompson, Game Programming ‘17. He worked on the programming of the game, streamlining the code and rebuilding the game according to its original design . He described the game as having a correct answer to success, but it’s designed to teach the player how to achieve the goal in an organic way. That’s how the game hopes to teach players about sustainability and how the inclusive growth model works.

“The game is intended to teach,” he stated, when asked of the game’s importance. “Handing the job of creating sustainability off to future generations dooms the Earth to failure.”