by Colleen Macklin
Parsons The New School for Design in New York City and Director of PETLab
and Thomson Guster
Kelly Writers House
What happens when the world of a game gets confused with the world? Re:Activism is a location– based urban game about activism. It takes place where most activism takes place, in the streets. Since 2008, the game has been played in New York, Beijing, Minneapolis/St.Paul, and, most recently, Philadelphia. During that game, players on the streets of Philadelphia recreating historic protests encountered and became part of the Occupy protests; two actions intersecting and creating a new form of situated learning, one where the lessons of the past became critical to the present — in other words, a history teacher’s dream. This event also raised a number of important questions about the design of serendipity in games, the nature of the interactions that can be created in public through games, and, most importantly, what’s learned when playing these kinds of games. In addition to using the Philadelphia
Re:Activism game as a case study, insights from game’s design and player interviews reveal pedagogical object lessons about what kinds of things are actually learned through place– based play.
“It was the moment for me where it turned into not being a game anymore.”
— A player describing a moment in the game when an interview with a Vietnam Veteran raised questions about the nature of the activities in the game.
Re:Activism is a game originally designed in 2008 for New York City’s “Come Out and Play” Festival by PETLab at Parsons The New School for Design. Since its NYC debut, it has been adopted by different educational and activist groups and adapted for play in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Beijing, and Philadelphia by groups of middle– schoolers, college students, and adults. In this chapter we’ll focus on the Philadelphia edition of the game, in particular those moments that blurred the boundary between the game world and the real one, and the resulting insights from the game’s players. Through this example we hope to shed light on the power of serendipity in location– based games and situated learning as well as provide a truly honest assessment and of what is learned in the game.
In addition to situated moments of learning, the game involves actions that are performed, rather than information which is read or otherwise received. Whether players are chalking facts about US war veterans outside of the historic Betsy Ross House (where, on December 26, 1971, members of Vietnam Veterans Against The War protested to call attention to ongoing US war crimes in southeast Asia), encouraging passersby to join them in singing “Age of Aquarius” on Independence Mall (where, on April 21, 1970, the cast of the Broadway musical Hair performed at the first ever Earth Day), or creating a historical marker to commemorate the Dewey’s Lunch Counter demonstrations (where, in April and May of 1965, the management’s denials of service to LGBT patrons triggered a concerted protest that caused the management to recant its discriminatory policies), players re– enact and commemorate historical events, intervening provocatively in public space, playing teachers in the streets, educating passersby about the ways the past lives on in the present moment. The connection between embodied experience and learning in dynamic public spaces ultimately leads to outcomes that exceed the designer’s control, where experience and serendipity (defined below) combine to make the past more immediate, allowing history’s lessons to be understood in light of the present moment. In this chapter we’ll trace the contours of these unpredictable outcomes and describe the challenges and possibilities in designing learning that is active, serendipitous, and unpredictable.
what is Re:Activism?
Re:Activism is a location– based urban game that maps the history of activism onto the public spaces where they occurred, as players reenact and re– create the actions that once took place there. Re:Activism focuses on the actual practices of activism to reveal not just the what, where, and when of watershed protest events, but also the how, and it does this by enabling the players to interact with the public through playful re– enactments and other interventions. Teams compete by racing between sites of historic protest and activism, earning points by completing challenges at each site that not only “reactivate” the issues represented by those historic struggles, but also serve as occasions to interpret and appreciate anew those who actually lived them. Teams can visit as many sites as they wish, in any order they choose, completing only those challenges that they want to. Though Re:Activism explores history, its primary content is very much of the moment, emphasizing as it does the intrinsic connection between navigating the city and planning and documenting
The gameplay is simple. As the game begins, teams of 3– 5 players are given a backpack containing a map of sites, lettered A through R, of historic protest and activism across the city, with the point value of each site clearly indicated; a packet of sealed envelopes, numbered 1 through 18, one for each site; and other supplies necessary to complete game challenges, like posterboard, markers, sidewalk chalk, and tape, for example. We make sure that at least one player on each team is equipped with a cellphone capable of taking and sending pictures and video — an increasingly common occurrence! Over the course of about 3 hours, these teams race each other from site to site, completing challenges
at each location in order to score points. Each site challenge recalls the history of that site, requiring the players to reenact, commemorate, or symbolically
continue the struggles of activists past — but, before they can attempt these challenges, they must “unlock” each site by answering a “key question,” a question that can only be answered by physically investigating the site. For example, at site N, the site of the MOVE House Bombing: “In front of 6221 Osage is a sign denoting permit parking for whom?” Players send their answers to “Protest HQ,” a group of game referees with the list of answers to the key questions, who unlock that site when sent the correct answer (“Philadelphia
Police Civic Affairs,” in this case), texting the players to reveal which of the numbered envelopes in their pack corresponds with that site.
Opening the appropriate sealed site envelope reveals information about that location’s history and the site’s challenges. For example:
MOVE House Bombing
When: May 13th, 1985
Where: MOVE House, 6221 Osage Avenue
What: In 1985, the compound of the black power organization MOVE, located on a residential block in West Philadelphia, became the site of an infamous confrontation, the specifics of which are hotly disputed to this day. What is clear is that when the police, who had come to the compound to serve search warrants, were denied entry, a chain of events was set in motion that culminated in the police bombing the house, killing everyone in the building except for one woman and child. The fire from the bomb spread to 65 nearby houses, effectively destroying the neighborhood. Though courts eventually ruled that the police had used excessive force, no one was found guilty of any criminal wrongdoing, and no jail time was served. The victims of these attacks and their supporters contest the validity of the “official” version of events to this day, demanding reparations from the city for its undeniably brutal and heavy– handed attacks. To this day the Philadelphia Police Department remains the only such department in the country to have bombed its own citizens.
After the site’s historical significance is detailed, the site’s challenges are presented:
For 200 points: Ask a passerby if they either remember the MOVE House bombing or have heard about it. Ask them to explain the effects the bombing may have had upon their neighborhood. Document with video.
For 400 points: Currently the MOVE House does not have a historic marker erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
Using the materials provided, create a sign marking the house and the eleven lives lost in the bombing. Document with a photo.
For 600 points: The problem of excessive police force has always been controversial, especially when the lives of the officers are thought to be in danger. Converse within your group about what the police and the members of MOVE could have done to ensure the safety of both the citizens and the police force. Document with video.
For 800 points: Draw a series of chalk arrows connecting the site of the MOVE bombing to Philadelphia City & County (the closest police station) located at 5510 Pine Street, in order to emphasize the historic and ongoing tensions that characterize the relationship between the police and the communities they are meant to serve and protect. Document with video.
Teams decide which challenges they would like to complete, and in what order. Throughout the game, Protest HQ keeps track of each team’s progress, keeps all teams informed of their standing on the scoreboard, and keeps track of the time remaining in the game. Players send cell phone photos and videos as proof of their accomplished challenges to Protest HQ in order to score points.
This documentation primarily serves as proof of accomplishment for score– keeping purposes, but it also serves as an archive of in– game experiences, providing touchstones for post– game discussions that synthesize the different experiences of each player and each team, and provides valuable feedback to the game designers that can be used to improve and modify future iterations of Re:Activism.
(Indeed, this archive may prove to be a great educational resource for a variety of learning settings — a way for students to feel connected to their city’s history, a way for students to become teachers of that history for others, a way for teachers to excite and motivate future students toward their own learning by showing them the media archives of previous Re:Activism participants, and so on. For historical incidents that have already been substantially filmed and photographed (like, for instance, the MOVE Bombing, which took place live on network news), comparisons of extant media documentation to their own Re:Activism archive may help players to feel their connection to history even more deeply.)
Teams report to Protest HQ as they complete challenges. Protest HQ tallies up the points earned and announces the team’s total score to all players, functioning as the referee and the scoreboard in order to keep the teams apprised of each other’s progress and stoke the fires of competition. After each completed challenge, the team must decide whether to complete additional challenges at that site or whether to move on to another.
The sites featured in Re:Activism Philadelphia were mostly clustered in a few neighborhoods — Old City, the eastern portion of the city famous for its colonial–
era historic sites, and Center City, which holds many cultural and civic institutions. Because of the density of Re:Activism sites in those areas, teams may have foregone visiting the outlying — but no less historically significant!
— game locations, like the site of the MOVE bombing in the far west of the city, if the game designer had not incentivized such visits by increasing the point values of to those sites’ challenges or by adding bonus challenges.
Ultimately, though, each group devises a strategy early on: do we try to cover as much ground as possible, or do we stay in one location and try to complete all of the challenges there? Providing different strategies and locations gives each team a very different experience.
Activism in the game is a marker for an embodied moment in history — exclamation
points marking longer struggles and critical issues of the day. In this way, Re:Activism is a game about history and the role of civil disobedience, strike, riot, and protest in marking history. Reactivating these performances creates an experiential link to historic actors and provides insight into the issues of that time. It also introduces players to the public and spatial nature of activism, perhaps changing the way a street corner someone passes every day is viewed after actually re– enacting an event that happened there in the past. Activism is history performed live and on location, deliberate interventions
into politics from outside of the traditional political structure — activism is literally about changing the game society is playing.
how does it work?
The technology behind Re:Activism is pedestrian — literally available to everyday people walking down the street: a mobile phone with a camera and the ability to text message. Non– digital tools such as poster– board, sidewalk chalk, markers, and pamphlets act as props and commemorative tools to mark sites and leave behind messages. There’s no special software or GPS needed to play the game. This is intentional for three primary reasons. First, it makes the game easy to run by non– technologists. To run the game all that’s needed is the ability to send and receive text messages. It’s possible to use only simple cell phones as the primary technology, enabling play in parts of the world where computers and internet connections are scarce, but text– enabled phones in abundance (this includes many countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia). That said, when supporting a large number of players it makes sense to use a computer and a freely available text messaging gateway. For the Re:Activism game in Philadelphia we used the freely available online application Google Voice to manage sending texts out to multiple teams. It also made writing the texts easier, since we could type them out in advance and copy and paste them into the application.
The second reason the game avoids the usage of GPS is to allow the game to be run in dense urban environments where GPS signals often get cut off or are inaccurate. We’ve found that GPS is almost impossible to use in many areas in New York City due to the concrete canyons formed by tall buildings which allow very little access to skyborne satellite transmissions. Knowing this, we decided to keep the technology (and chances for technical breakdowns) limited, and focused instead on using a combination of texts, paper maps and sealed, coded envelopes to deliver the game’s content. Distributing critical game information in different formats creates a reason for players on a team to fulfill different roles — one might be the keeper of envelopes, one the navigator, and the player in possession of the phone, the communicator and documentarian (through texts, video and photos). In early prototypes we used the phone’s mapping software, but quickly realized that nothing is more disconnecting than a game that requires players to stare into screens and not look at the environment around them.
Finally, this low tech approach replicates the way that cell phones have actually
been used to drive activism and protests the world over. From the famous text– sparked protests in Manila in 2001 that peacefully overthrew Philippine
President Joseph Estrada (Rafael, 2003, Shirky 2011) to other examples around the world, a simple text message is a powerful tool for organizing groups and communicating during protests. Phones aren’t just used to organize groups, they’re also an important reporting tool, providing images, videos and a record of the event from the inside. Twitter and other SMS– based broadcasting services often report mass actions earlier than the news media does, and becomes a source of ongoing news directly from participants as well as reporters, demonstrated most recently by Twitter’s reported top hashtag of 2011: #egypt, used to mark posts about the protests there that ignited the Arab Spring. Using text and the phone’s basic capabilities is a lesson in how to report and communicate important events.
Not all location– based games need to utilize GPS or specialized applications. It’s possible to create a meaningful situated experience through minimal, or even no, technology. However, the technology used can also provide a learning opportunity. What are the digital literacies embedded in the project, and how do the mechanics of the game reinforce them? This is often overlooked for the game’s content, and the assumption often is that that the learning involved in location based games is mainly learning about the game’s content. However, in our repeated experience with Re:Activism, this couldn’t be further from what actually happens.
where’s the learning in location– based learning?
Since 2008, PETLab has run the game in different locations and with different players. We’ve conducted formal assessments (through survey and pre/post game interviews) and have hosted conversations with political scientists and historians. Each time, one thing became clear: instead of learning and retaining information about the history of activism and of the city, players learned a host of other things one would not link to conventional understandings
of the content. They learned how to approach strangers and ask them questions, they learned how to use mobile phones to report and document, and they learned how it felt to perform actions they would usually not perform, in public. If the game is meant to teach the history of activism, it does not do it very well. Instead, it seems to teach some of the basic tools necessary for civic action while using history as a set of “prompts” or learning occasions.
Broader themes emerge and a general understanding of activism may be solidified
during post– game debriefings, but, at heart, the game’s core mechanic — a race — is in opposition to the patience and careful reading necessary for players to gain much more than a surface familiarity of the historic events that underpin Re:Activism’s challenges. “The mechanic is the message” is the title of a set of non– digital games by game designer Brenda Brathwaite. In the games, Brathwaite attempts to convey the meaning and emotional impact of historic social tragedies like the Trail of Tears or the Holocaust through simple game mechanics — in other words, what players do. “The mechanic is the message” is also the idea that what players do in a game is what they retain from the experience. Many remember laying on the ground on Wall Street when enacting the 1987 Act Up “die– in,” but they might not remember the details, such as the date, the name Act Up, or even what it was about. However, we believe that even if this information is lost, there’s something else gained. We use the terms “collateral learning,” “stealth learning,” and “serendipitous learning” to explore what kind of non– traditional learning occurs in the game.
In the same way that an arcade style game about math might teach more eye– hand coordination than actual math concepts, Re:Activism teaches actual practices and tools used by activists and the affects involved in public action. We call this stealth learning. This kind of stealth learning is found in the game’s mechanics — the actions players perform. Chalking messages in the sidewalk, forming a human chain, creating slogans and placards, chanting, interviewing members of the public, texting, tweeting, recording and photographing. Using mobile phones and social media to delve into the histories of activism allows players to access history through performance by allowing them to inhabit the role of an activist. At the same time, it permits them to inhabit the role of the “citizen journalist,” the documentarian who can use such a simple thing as a phone to spread and capture news in text, photograph, and video, reporting live as events unfold.
The performative aspect of the game is a way for players to learn that may not be recognized as such — hence, “stealth learning.” But, as they repeatedly engage in these behaviors during the game, they become savvy with a variety of skills: navigating through their city, organizing and collaborating within the group and with strangers, and intervening in public space using the theatrical and technological skills mentioned above. Whether there’s a long– term retention of, or an increased disposition toward, any of these practices has not been assessed. However, just as videogames develop eye– hand coordination and new forms of digital literacy, locative games too have the potential to cultivate new skills with technology and spatial awareness. More interestingly, the game may foster a new dispositions and attitude toward the historical and activist content of the game, or change the player’s relationship to their city, prompting a re– evaluation of the player’s place in it. We borrow from John Dewey’s notion of “collateral learning” to explore how Re:Activism operates in this way.
In Experience and Education, John Dewey describes a form of learning he terms “collateral learning”:
“Perhaps the greatest of all pedagogical fallacies is the notion that a person learns only the particular thing he is studying at the time. Collateral learning in the way of formation of enduring attitudes, of likes and dislikes, may be and often is much more important than the spelling lesson or lesson in geography or history that is learned. For these attitudes are fundamentally what count in the future.The most important attitude that can be formed is that of the desire to go on learning.” (49)
One of the first things we learned when we talked to and surveyed players after the game was that the race created an urgency that made retaining any of the facts about the site and the history impossible. After a session of the game in NYC for middle– schools, when asked what they learned about a particular site, some responded: “I learned where it happened. I always thought it happened further downtown.” Others (more than we hoped) responded like this: “I learned something but forgot it.”
We learned through these post– game interviews that what’s retained is not a clear understanding of the particulars of an event — the where, when and who — but instead what players did during the game and the attitudinal strategies they devised to complete the challenges. One player, in responding to the question: “What did you learn about this event” responded “A lot. All about approaching people, being positive, trying to get their answer, interact.” In many ways, players learned the attitude of activism over its history. Learning in the game was certainly collateral, and we would argue that games themselves are not the best tool for teaching facts and data. Instead, games convey attitudes, strategies, and emotional messages through the fact that they are experienced as dynamic and shifting systems that respond to our actions, rather than static containers to refer to. This also leads to emergent and unpredictable outcomes, ones that can’t be controlled, but can be leveraged through design. Leaving room for serendipity and coincidence is one design strategy.
We believe that games of this type demonstrate truly meaningful – but not conventional or “testable” — learning outcomes. Because they take the form of a compact event, players are able to suspend the concerns of everyday life and try on new attitudes and roles in public. At the same time, they’re given license to interact with the real world in ways that they might not have without the game. This enables serendipitous learning, the kind that is remembered as an authentic experience, not just as information about a given topic. In other words, the “wildness” of the game, due to the fact that it is played in a dynamic public, leads to stronger impressions than more contained experiences. In Philadelphia, players of the game playing activists encountered with actual activists, joining in and learning from the Occupy Philadelphia movement during its crescendo. In fact, an entire team defected from the game to participate in this, as they called it “once in a lifetime opportunity.” Would they have joined the march if they weren’t out already, playing together as a group? When asked that question, the answer was probably not. By simply making oneself available to the possibilities of the moment, players found themselves doing something new and unexpected that they will always remember.
In addition to this event, other players met and interacted with people who had a real connection to the site or the issue that that site represented in the game. Many of the activities in the game involve interviewing members of the public. One player, when recreating a protest against the Vietnam war coincidentally found a Vietnam veteran to talk to. He had been blinded in the war, and before the interview began, asked the interviewer if she was going to spit on him. When she emphatically said no, he went on to describe his experience returning from the war, when people spat on him and called him names like “baby– killer”. He argued that the anti– war protests of the time were often organized by those uninformed about the actual experiences of the soldiers who went to fight. The reception he received on his return, injured and blind from a war that was unimaginably brutal, was an additional assault. His perspective on protests that the player would have agreed were “right” led her to question her actions in the game.
“It was the moment for me where it turned into not being a game anymore.”
“I started questing more and more after doing certain tasks whether I knew enough about what the tasks related to for me to be able to judge for myself how much I agreed with what I was doing. It definitely brought a new level of reality to the experience.”
That level of reality was only made possible when the game world and the real world intersected. It was the moment for that player and other players who ended up leaving the game and joining the actual Occupy march, that the relationship between history and the present came into focus. It’s when re– enactment became practice for something with higher stakes. And it created experiences that will also likely be remembered far more than the facts written down on the Challenge Cards for the game. Serendipity can be cultivated in a game. The most direct way is to include interaction with non– players, eliciting responses and diverse perspectives on the game content. This is how Re:Activism generates serendipity. In past games, players have encountered members of the public that even had first hand experiences with the events, providing an even greater level of depth into the content. The first time the game was played, at the 2008 Come Out and Play Festival in New York, one of the teams met women who were present during the Stonewall Inn Riots, and proceeded to enjoy a beer with them at the site (CITE Macklin, 2010). These moments transcend the game, and became for those players a powerful memory, part of their own personal history.
what we’ve learned
design for chance: Part of the reason that players met Occupy protesters was because the game designer added Occupied City Hall to the list of game sites and included challenge that asked the players to speak to, document the activities of, and otherwise interact with the Occupiers and the police who had been deployed to monitor them. We wanted the game to demonstrate that, in the words of William Faulkner, “The past is never dead. It isn’t even past.” Activist struggles persist to this day, and the battles once fought are still being fought. By choosing to include sites that represented events from the earliest days of colonial America all the way to the day of the game itself, we hoped to help the players find that blurry boundary between the game and the real world, to discover that the dramatic public interventions the game required of them were akin to the dramatic public interventions that current events demanded of the protesters. Designing for chance, in the case of Re:Activism, means attending to the contemporary context in which the game will be played just as much as the historical backdrop that provides the bulk of the game’s challenges.
design for openness: Each team set about playing a different way. One team focused on acquiring as many points as possible by visiting as many sites as possible, and so they stuck mostly to the more densely clustered sites of the Old City area, making strategic trips to outlying sites in order to capitalize on the bonus points there. Another team picked out locations they wanted to personally learn about, weaving a more circuitous route through the city in an effort to satisfy their particular curiosities. And another abandoned the game entirely to join the Occupy Philadelphia marchers, where they learned about activism beyond the game’s parameters. By striking a balance between emphasizing the rules of the game on the one hand and the spirit of the game on the other, game designers can help create permeable or fuzzy boundaries to the game world that allow players the greatest potential for rich experiences. And there’s a deeper lesson here, too: activism, being a necessarily social enterprise, is not simply a way of demonstrating knowledge or taking action, but a way of acquiring knowledge, starting discussions, and it rewards those who take ownership over their own learning experiences.
give players tools to help guide chance encounters with the public: Players were given Re:Activism shirts to wear, shirts that fulfilled a few purposes. First, they provided a “point of entry” for passersby to approach the players as they played the game, performing reenactments, posting signs, or otherwise presenting an unusual spectacle in public. This “point of entry” function also helped players to easily identify themselves to passersby for those tasks which required them to interact more directly or conversationally with the public. Second, the shirts identified the players as members of a group, and, in particular, as members of a non– activist group, giving them some modicum of “cover” or license to behave unusually in public — to, in some cases, post signs or chalk on historic sites or accost passersby — without attracting any negative attention from security guards or police. In these t– shirts, they were friendly, recognizable, good– natured. Third, these branded t– shirts perhaps made passersby curious about what “Re:Activism” was, or at least allowed for that possibility. Lastly, and most importantly, these matching shirts, by setting them apart from the rest of the public, gave the players the push that they might have needed to actually go out and behave unusually.
The packets of historical information in every team’s backpack also served as a useful tool for guiding players through their encounters with the public. Providing them with summaries and talking points about a variety of complicated historical events, these packets give players the authority they need to cold start conversations that might not otherwise occur informally, in public. And these history lessons are brief, bite– sized, perfect for consuming on— the— go as teams raced each other through the game, a nourishing supply of food for thought to fuel conversations that roam across topics even as the players roam the city.
plan a route and playtest it! The routes were play– tested by small groups to make sure that no historical sites were closed or under renovation; that there was enough room at sites to allow for performance– based challenges; that there were enough nearby poles, walls, benches, etc. to which posters and signs could be affixed; that relative indicators of orientation in the game directions were replaced with absolute ones (for example, the “east side of the building,” not “the left side.”); that the addresses and street intersections for all the sites were accurate — or, if there was no obvious address or intersection (as was the case for the site of the Black Bottom neighborhood protest) that the site was indicated very specifically by landmarks; and that the key questions were all answerable and that the answers were all recorded correctly.
Certain events that made it on to Re:Activism’s map took place at sites that no longer exist (the entire Black Bottom neighborhood was razed and built over) or have since relocated (the Institute of Contemporary Art, from which the players departed in the morning, was once located in a different part of the city, and it is this previous site that the map & challenges refer to). Making these facts apparent to players was important, but equally important was planning for their possible confusion by knowing in advance which sites may cause confusion.
The packets for two sites, one commemorating the Philadelphia General Strike of 1910, the other the citywide protest against the transit workers’ strike of 1944, were unintentionally conflated while we wrote up their respective challenges. The wording of one challenge seemed to demand that the players travel to another location quite far from the actual site in order to earn points. At this point, Protest HQ more than proved their worth when they received a call from a stymied team, clarifying the matter before the players got too frustrated. This incident shows both the necessity of thoroughly play– testing the game route and materials and of being flexible in the event of the inevitable surprises.
Mix younger players with adults: Re:Activism’s been played by middle school social studies classes and younger children after school. The game works best with players age 12– up, due to the content complexity and maturity to understand and play by the rules of the game as well as the social rules inherent in public performance and play. Mixing adults with younger players provides an increased level of supervision and safety when interviewing strangers on the street and performing the challenges. It also has the benefit of providing cross– generational dialogue on the issues explored in the game and may help to prevent the activities of the players from being dismissed or ignored as simple shenanigans.
where to go from here?
While the stealth, collateral and serendipitous learning outcomes from Re:Activism are useful and in some ways more vibrant, the shortcomings of the game in relaying detailed factual content does still frustrate some players who were looking for a more deeply informational experience. This could be partially resolved by creating companion pieces around the game, a website to share information and content, and even working with teachers to create curricula that augment the experience or embed the game in curricula that already exist. Partnerships with educational and arts organizations, such as the partnership with the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania and the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, lead to opportunities for the game to be one of a series of events including teachers, students, activists, and other members of the community. With additional planning, local political grassroots organizations, perhaps even city departments, could be brought in as partners, too.
An opportunity also exists to create a curriculum out of the activity of preparing the game in one’s own location. Research, talking to community— based organizations, mapping and learning the iterative methodologies of game design could all be part of a class, after– school program, or learning module. In other games designed by students at PETLab, we’ve found that making a game about an issue leads to a deep understanding of the systems underneath the issues. Games, as a cultural medium of systems, lead to a greater understanding and facility with systems thinking. And when making them, the importance of systems becomes all the more apparent.
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