For my August GDS Challenge, I decided that I wanted to tackle the K-12 environment. At this point, most of your K-12 stuff is created is marketed and sold by vendors. But I can easily envision an environment where teachers themselves or perhaps an in-district LX group created interactions helped to create performance-centered interactions to help students practice performance on any number of subjects. There might even be a place for the students themselves to create their own interactions using the rapid development tools we have available (gasp!). To that end, I wanted to recreate one of my favorite social studies games growing up: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
Why in the World Carmen Sandiego?
I choose Carmen for a couple of reasons. Firstly it’s what I would call a serious game. It embeds the need (and motivation) to look up real-world historical, cultural, and geographical information (originally using encyclopedias) in order to solve in-game problems (namely, to follow the V.I.L.E agents and arrest them). That creates a great environment for learning. Throughout the cases, you also begin to internalize certain facts through repetition. As I wrote in my breakdown of the game, by the end of a few cases, you know in which country the thin-spined porcupine or the Taureg people reside. Secondly, it allows me to revisit game development from a slightly different angle. This go round, I’d like to incorporate somewhere between 3 to 5 cases and allow users to rank up over time.
My vision for this one was pretty straight forward. I created a tiny lookbook of Carmen Sandiego games both past and present and created a look and feel based on them. I will say though that, partly owing to not having all the graphics I need yet, I went ahead and started prototyping in PowerPoint which has proved very helpful. As I’ve mentioned before, for me, PowerPoint works well because it’s a medium in which I feel free to delete something if it doesn’t work. It’s also allowed me to take some time and really flesh out my ideas about some of the game elements. Looking to make this a reality by the end of the month!