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A Game to Fight Bullying - The Adventures of Rubberkid! (Forums : Ideas & Concepts : A Game to Fight Bullying - The Adventures of Rubberkid!) Locked
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Dec 1 2012 Anchor

Hiya! My name is Charlie and I'm in indie game developer. I'm also the creator of The Critterverse, a silly, cute kid-safe game site. One day, when working to expand a game I made for a Ludum Dare challenge, it hit me... Why not try to make the world a better place with games? So many great indies have made games to make people think or make people feel strong emotions, and there have been education games forever... Why not make a game to help conquer bullying?

The Adventures of Rubberkid is a colorful, cute game for elementary school children. The aim of the game is to show the player the consequences of bullying. Each level focuses on helping a particular child (or children). Once helped, the player gets to see more info about them... The most important being "What Would Have Been" if the bullies continued and "But Since You Helped", what they'll do with their life. This clearly demonstrates the terrifying results of bullying!

Since the point of the game is to help conquer bullying, it'd be silly to charge people money to play it... So the game is entirely free! Instead of charging people to play it, it's being funded with Kickstarter. The campaign has a low funding goal ($750) but some great stretch goals too: First the game would be translated into Spanish, then French... Then a "Cyberbullying Edition" would be made (aimed at teens), a children's book and even a comic! With all that, pretty much everyone should be reached with the message :)

I really want to make this project succeed; bullying is easily one of the worst things that exists, and it's something that affects everyone in some form. If you hate bullying like me, PLEASE share this on Facebook, Twitter, tell a friend, anything! It means the world to me!

You can find the Kickstarter here:

Edited by: cataclysmicknight

Dec 1 2012 Anchor

Noble intentions and it's definitely an area that should be taken very seriously. One thing I am wondering with regards the game: I like the idea "What Would Have Been" -- but I don't know that it would change many bullys' minds. After all, some folks get their kicks stamping on a dream...

Dec 2 2012 Anchor

Very true; the goal of the game is more to let kids see what bullying does, and realize that the main power bullies have is that no one ever stands up with the bullied kids... If people would stand up and back up the bullied kid(s), it'd go a long way... Bullies don't want to have to deal with a whole group, and a portion of what makes it so "fun" is how the other kids all laugh too, or at least watch their show

Dec 2 2012 Anchor

Ok. Time for some harsh words.

This game will do nothing. As already pointed out, it won't change how bullies think, and the over simplified example of a girl who would go on to be a world class scientist if only she wasn't bullied won't make people think about the issue. It also makes it seem like you have no experience of the subject matter.

Maybe I'm just not seeing it, but there is no exploration of the moral grey areas of bullying, such as workplace/college bullying, the use of violence when bullying escalates, using violence for self defence or authorities who will turn a blind eye because the bully is the child of a teacher or otherwise well connected. These are very real issues that your pat "speak out when someone gets called bad names" idea has no effect on.

Edited by: SabreXT

JacobRollin Rollin Bros. Founder
Dec 3 2012 Anchor

I believe this could be effective to elementary students, but not on older children. If they are introduced to this game and idea at an early age, they will be more influenced by the game and the message it is trying to get across. I wish you luck on this project!

Edited by: JacobRollin

Dec 8 2012 Anchor

It's a nice project, but I doubt that it'll have an impact on children over 12 or 14. If I could make a suggestion, that would be to let the player choose if he wants to help the bullied child or be the bully. I know this sounds like the exact opposite of what you try to achieve, but hear me out.
If you choose to play as the bully, the game's going to be easy - it's basically you and some other (possible stronger) classmates against a single student. You bully him, and of course you "win". It just becomes repetitive, there's no challenge at all, and you soon get bored. This is true in real life as well - most bullies will try and find a new victim if the first leaves, meaning that it's actually the bullies who are on the offensive rather than the bullied children behaving in a provocative way.
But what if you choose to help the child instead? You'll have to be very careful, not to confront the bullies up front. You'll have to be careful and use a variety of skills and tricks to achieve this goal. The "victory" would also be much more satisfying against the bullies, since you'll have fought to earn it (unlike the "victory" of a bully against his victim, where the winner is more or less predetermined).

I believe this will have a much bigger impact on gamers. Gamers love challenges, and are easily bored by predetermined and repetitive scenarios. Ever wondered why nearly all main characters in books, films and games are up against something much more powerful? It's the exact same reason. Pointing a finger and telling gamers "This is bad" won't accomplish anything, especially with teenagers. But give them a choice between an easy win and a good challenge and it's almost certain they'll choose the latter, even if they are morally neutral towards bullying.
And the best part? It's that way in real life as well. It means that they can go and try to act like in the video game, and realize how much more intriguing a challenge with a good cause is, than something that you've won before even trying it. This might prove to be a real link between game and reality, and that's what this game is all about to begin with.

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