Johnny Money: An Innovative Video Game for Teaching Financial Literacy
Johnny Money is an innovative and engaging video game that I developed for Visa and the NFIB with the aim of offering educators a powerful tool to teach financial literacy to their students. The game provides an immersive environment where students can explore risk-taking and make decisions that lead to immediate feedback, helping them to understand complex systems and enhance their critical thinking skills.
Like any video game, Johnny Money has a set of rules that players must understand and use strategies to achieve their goals. To support this learning process, I identified various "events" in the game that present opportunities for students to research practical money skills, a set of resources developed by Visa to help people manage their finances more effectively. By integrating these resources into the gameplay, students are encouraged to explore the practical applications of financial literacy concepts, enabling them to build their financial acumen in a fun and engaging way.
To further enhance the learning potential of Johnny Money, I also incorporated an alternate-reality gaming (ARG) model, which provides an interactive narrative that blends real-world elements with the game's storyline. This approach requires players to engage with the real world to uncover clues, solve puzzles, and find artifacts, challenging them to think creatively and apply their financial literacy skills in a range of different contexts.
For instance, when students encounter event #28, where they must expand their store to double its size, but are unable to secure a loan due to their low credit score (event #53), they are presented with a challenge and a new discovery in the rules-based system of play. To overcome this obstacle, they must first increase their credit score to a certain level. This requires them to seek out practical money skills content, either within the game or in the real world, that teaches them how to improve their credit score. Once they have integrated this new knowledge into the rules system, they can begin to see results and achieve their goals.