Walikale, a fair serious game

A complete product design and development for a educational serious game, aiming to raise consciences about the responsible consumption of technology.

Overview

Walikale is a serious game, made to measure for an educational campaign named "Tecnology free of conflict", by the basque NGO Alboan. This product was intended to be used at schools as an aditional resource, but it had such a success that finished being the key element of the campaign.

Figure 1. Promotional video

Game design process

Objectives and content

The objective of this project was to generate a tool to be used at schools as part of the campaign, addressed to children 11 to 14 years-old. The gameplay should be splittable into several playing sessions with a total duration of 60 minutes. The main objectives of the product were:

  • Generate emotional identification with the victims of the industry
  • Explain the process of creating technologic products

The first step in this process was to get aligned with the customer about which contents should be included in the game. After processing all the campaign information, we established four milestones in the process:

  • The origin of the blood minerals and the life conditions of the miners
  • The efforts of the industry for erasing any trace of the illicit origin of the minerals
  • The work conditions of the workers in the technology factories
  • The technology dumps and their impact on the environment
Figure 2. Minigames that reinforce the message

Script and mechanics

One of the main objectives of this game was to generate empathy in the user. That's why we decided to apply a subjective point of view during all the scenes. The player starts the game by receiving a new Fakephone at home and starts a virtual travel around the world to discover its process of production:

  • Visits Walikale (D.R. Congo) to discover the origin of the minerals
  • Goes to Malaysia to investigate about the melting of the raw material to erase its origin
  • Travels to China to discover the life conditions of the workers at technology factories

After this travel, when the player is back at home, has the chace to decide if she wants a new phone or not. This election is the plot twist of the game, as the user transitions from a passive observation of the story to an active ethical decision.

Each scenario is divided into two parts. In the first one, the player talks with different people discovery the educational contents on a dramatical way. In the second phase, a minigame is displayed related to the topics covered in the precedent conversation. For example, in the Congolese mining scenario the minigame is a mineswiper to reinforce the idea that the mining activities are very dangerous.

Figure 3. PLAY WITH ME! This is the real Walikale game

Usability and playtesting

Before launching, the game had two iterations with groups of 6 users: one in paper and one using the beta version of the game.

The paper propotyping was focused on making sure that the textual content was easily understood by our user personas and that the general navigation worked fine. For the minigames we discovered that using a common pattern for all the games (a clickable orthogonal grid) it would be easier to try and understnd the different game dynamics.

The second iteration of the game, revealed a task performance rate of 87% and a text retention rate of 76%, so it was ready to launch. Most of the changes during this iteration where about adjusting the difficulty and length of the games.

Results

During more than five years it has been used as an educational resource at several schools at Bilbao. With an average of 493 unique visitors per month and 92% positive evaluations, the product was cosidered a success by the client.

I have always considered that the best conclussion about this project was the comments left by some of the users:


As a 6th grade teacher, I find Walikale very interesting. I think the topics were well explained and it is also very visual. And on top of that are the mini games, that make the students face the problems exposed by the texts. It is a perfect tool for class dynamics. IƱaki Iriarte, Teacher
I liked the game a lot, I even replayed it at home. Anonymous student
Date April, 2015
Type Social marketplace, Product design

Contact

Are you working on something great? I would love to help make it happen! Drop me a letter and let's talk!

done

done

done