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Keeping Up With the Joneses: A Budgeting Game Proposal


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A proposal for a budgeting game for TC 831

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Keeping Up With the Joneses: A Budgeting Game Proposal

  1. 1. Lisa Eldred
  2. 2. Source:
  3. 3. Source:
  4. 4. <ul><li>“ In case you're wondering the total amount of consumer debt in the United States stands at nearly $2.6 trillion dollars - and based on the latest Census statistics, that works out to be nearly $8,500 in debt for every man, woman and child that lives here in the US.” - </li></ul>*Source:
  5. 5. <ul><li>76 percent of undergraduates have credit cards, and the average undergrad has $2,200 in credit card debt. Additionally, they will amass almost $20,000 in student debt. </li></ul>Source:
  6. 6. <ul><li>“‘ Under-40’ individuals are of a generation that when growing up deeply experienced, for the first time in history, a radically new form of play—computer and video games— and that this new form of entertainment has shaped their preferences and abilities and offers an enormous potential for their learning, both as children and adults.” </li></ul>Source: Prensky, M. (2001). Digital game-based learning. St. Paul: Paragon House
  7. 7. <ul><li>Basic premise: You are an in-debt homeowner. Your credit rating is slipping as you keep finding unexpected expenses cropping up. </li></ul><ul><li>One day, the Jones family moves in next door. The Joneses are very similar to you in many way—family makeup, values, and even income—but the only debt they have is their mortgage. Mr. Jones has offered to help you with your budget. Will you do it, or will you try on your own to KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES? </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Fixed mode </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Husband, wife, 2 kids, dog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Static income based on national average income </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preset debt level based on national average </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reasonably easy to win within timeframe </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Customizable mode </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Set own family size </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set own income </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set own debt level </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Three things to do each quarter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Check status of house and family </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talk to the Joneses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Update budget </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Check status of house and family </li></ul><ul><ul><li>House falls into disrepair </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Perform repairs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Purchase new items (ranging from very cheap to very expensive) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Family needs change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Need new clothes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Children school expenses </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New event happens each quarter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Car breaks down </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Family member has health problem </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Earn extra money freelancing </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Talk to the Joneses (optional) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hear budgeting tips </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>See how they’re overcoming financial obstacles </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Update budget </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Add/remove line items </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Redistribute funds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The more dramatic the budget modification, the more visible the outcome </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Win state: get out of debt </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Special cutscene if out of debt within certain time limit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lose state: completely mess up budget </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cheat on taxes and go to jail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Default on mortgage payments and lose home </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mixed state: get out of debt at a loss </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t budget for pet expenses and let dog die </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Miss time limit by wide margin </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Keeping Up With the Joneses will serve as a sandbox, providing a safe, consequence-free environment to experiment with a budget </li></ul><ul><li>The Jones family are pedagogical agents who function as peers (they’ve gone through the same financial problems) and mentors (they offer the player budgeting advice) </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>The customization mode will allow for tailoring so that the player can experiment with his or her own financial constraints and personal situation </li></ul><ul><li>Especially in the customization mode, the game will increase the player’s self-efficacy concerning money management—the player can only break out of debt by modifying the initial budget supplied by the game and by making wise financial decisions </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Focus group </li></ul><ul><li>Playtests </li></ul><ul><li>Online surveys (via Survey Monkey) </li></ul><ul><li>Email surveys over course of next year (perhaps pursuing grant to do longitudinal follow-up) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Has the game influenced the creation/shape of own personal budget? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is player more confident about ability to get out of debt? </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>January-February 2009 – Hire creative team; take bids for programming; conduct background research; conduct focus groups; create paper prototype </li></ul><ul><li>March-June 2009 – Create digital prototype; conduct playtests </li></ul><ul><li>Beginning July 2009 – Open betatests of static version of game; open ongoing online survey of effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>August-November 2009 – Build customizable version; conduct playtests </li></ul><ul><li>December 2009 – Live launch </li></ul><ul><li>2010 – Evaluation of learning (email surveys) </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Current est. $500,000 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most salaries $50,000/year ea. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UX research - $10,000 total for playtester compensation </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Bandura, A. (2004). Social cognitive theory for personal and social change by enabling media. In A. Singhal, M. J. Cody, E. M. Rogers, & M. Sabido (Eds.), Entertainment-education and social change (pp. 75-96). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. </li></ul><ul><li>Gee, J. P. (2007). Good video games + good learning: Collected essays on video games, learning, and literacy . New York: Peter Lang. </li></ul><ul><li>Kim, Y., & Baylor, A. L. (2006). A social-cognitive framework for pedagogical agents as learning companions. Educational Technology Research & Development, 34 , 569-590. </li></ul><ul><li>Prensky, M. (2001). Digital game-based learning. St. Paul: Paragon House. </li></ul><ul><li>Rimal, R. N., & Adkins, A. D. (2003). Using computers to narrowcast health messages: The role of audience segmentation, targeting, and tailoring in health promotion. In T. L. Thompson, A. Dorsey, K. I. Miller, & R. Parrott (Eds.), Handbook of health communication (pp. 497-514). New York: LEA. </li></ul>