Johnny Money is a game I worked on for Visa and the NFIB that offers educators significant pedagogical potential. Students are engaged in an environment where they will be able to explore risk-taking, quickly get feedback on decisions they have made as well as think about complex systems. As with any video game, the students will be discovering a rule system within the game that they will need to leverage to achieve certain goals and be successful.
In creating the game, I identified a number of "events" in the game that were opportunities for students to research Visa's Practical Money Skills materials to help them master the rules system. Ideally, this research is integrated into gameplay, but it could also be done using a simplified alternate-reality gaming model.
Alternate-reality gaming (ARG)
In its simplest form, ARG is an interactive narrative that integrates real-world elements. In order for players to be successful in the ARG, they must interact with the real world to discover clues, artifacts, solve puzzles, etc. I thought this approach would be an effective model of gaming to incorporate learning in a classroom environment or to promote individual research.
For example, the student would like to expand his/her store to double its size (event #28), but is unable to get a loan to do so because their credit score is too low (event #53). This then becomes a challenge to the student and a new discovery in the rules-based system of play. They must achieve a credit score of “X” before they can get the loan amount they desire. But how do they leverage the rules system to increase the credit score? They consult with their mentor, Johnny Money, who points them to Visa's content (leaving gameplay now and into the real world) to read about improving your credit score. This information then needs to become integrated into the rules system so what they learn can be applied and they begin to see results.