World of Us: Leveraging Video Games for Social Inclusion and Educational Narratives

How can video games foster social inclusion and be a participatory tool to share decolonized and ecological narratives for kids?
The challenge:

TALES, a non-profit multimedia production company, embarked on a mission to engage directly with its audience of kids and teenagers aged 7 to 12, along with their guardians. With a focus on mythologies, decolonization, and ecologies, TALES aimed to develop an educational video game, World of Us,  that not only entertained but also educated its players. By actively involving the target audience in the development process, TALES aimed to ensure that the game resonated with its intended audience and effectively conveyed its educational messages.

Our approach:

Rather than employing a top-down approach, our strategy centered on fostering direct participation and engagement. We aimed to co-create experiences with the target audience, emphasizing collaboration over mere gameplay. This involved building video games with children from underprivileged environments in Brazil, Congo, and Romania, and creating a series of online events with experts in education, indigenous leadership, artists and activists. Additionally, we created metaverse spaces to amplify the voices of local storytellers and showcase their cultural heritage.

The key insight:

Co-creative development benefits from both content expertise and an architectural approach to utilizing 3D environments for showcasing various media forms.

The outcome:
  1. Two minigames developed in collaboration with Afro Games, based in Rio de Janeiro, the world's first training center for e-Sports athletes in slums.
  2. A multimedia world in beta, reflecting the organization's history and engaging children in an interactive workshop.
  3. A 2-day online event that connected academics, indigenous leadership, activists, and experts in education and inclusion. This event resulted in the laying of the first stone of the research corpus to shape the narrative and design of the future video game.
  4. Valuable user feedback and insights gathered to inform the pillars for the next iteration phase.
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