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A Game Studio’s Approach to Tackling World Problems

Most games are birthed by an idea. We, however, started making our food truck business game to solve three global problems. They are income inequality, unemployment, and access to education. How do you attempt to tackle these global issues when all you have is a team of average joes? Where do you even begin?

Research

For us, we began with what we loved, video games. That’s how Visionaries was born. But first, let’s discuss the problems of income inequality, unemployment, and access to education.

The link between income inequality, unemployment, and access to education is complex. Research reveals mixed results on which type of education is most suitable for improving gainful employment and reducing inequality. But one thing stands out though. To reduce income inequality and unemployment, we, unquestionably, need to democratize access to quality education. A 2019 Oxfam paper written by Jo Walker and co. makes a compelling case for this. The paper is titled The power of education to fight inequality.

Method

Armed with this observation, we broke our goal into three parts:

  • Core Idea: What sort of education is required to create jobs and reduce income inequality?
  • Delivery Method: How could we help deliver it?
  • Channel: If we could, how could we package it so that people would consume it?

The answer to the first question was straightforward: practical business education and specialized skills training. We decided to focus on delivering business education.

For the answer to the other two questions, we turned to video games. Why? There are now more than 2.5 billion gamers worldwide, consequently taking care of the method of delivery. If we embedded business concepts in an entertaining video game, we could distribute it to millions of people globally.

Now, how to do that successfully?

Solution

In his 2003 publication, James Gee explained how game environments enable players to learn. What games have to teach us about learning and literacy shows that well-designed games allow players to advance on different paths, and at different rates. This happens in response to each player’s interests and abilities while fostering just-in-time learning.

Another 2007 study by Nick Yee and Jeremy Bailenson went further to demonstrate how people’s behavior in virtual gaming environments influence their behavior in real life. Known as The Proteus Effect, this phenomenon undoubtedly has therapeutic applications in behavioral change, phobia desensitization, and personal empowerment.

For our plan to work, we certainly needed to utilize the Proteus Effect. We needed to create games that will entertain and inspire future players to start successful real-life businesses. The best game genre for this, in our opinion, would be Simulation Games.

The Game

Consequently, we decided to create a business simulation game series called Business Heroes. Designed to stir up entrepreneurship, the series will entertain and expose players to practical business management principles. Subsequently, we hope that this will ultimately empower them to become “business heroes.”

The first Business Heroes simulation game we are releasing is a food truck business. Now on Steam, Business Heroes: Food Truck Simulation is a single & multiplayer, food truck strategy game. It is designed to provide players with the knowledge and confidence required to manage a small business.

Business Heroes is a food truck simulation video game.
Business Heroes: Food Truck Simulation will be released on Steam Early Access

The Goal

The game’s goal is for players to start and grow a successful food truck business. Not only must players make business decisions based on weather, economic conditions, and customer preference, the will also have to handle unexpected occurrences, and stock cost/availability. All the while, players receive valuable business lessons delivered by Master Lee, the in-game business mentor.

Master Lee: A season serial entrepreneur

To increase realism for players, we are simulating a few things. The game simulates weather patterns, currency, and pricing based on the capital city in which the player chooses to start.

We have a Kick-starter campaign planned before the early access release. We are working feverishly to make it a success, although we know there are no guarantees.

You can sign up for our mailing list to get the latest development updates.

At Visionaries, our goal is to empower, entertain, and educate the world, starting with a food truck business game. Hopefully, we will simultaneously reduce global income inequality, unemployment, and access to education.

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