An Idea Is Born

FinancialGames.org gains its first student

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.

— Will Rogers.

What’s before beta testing? Before crashing your computer stops being all but assured with one wrong button click. Crash testing, helmet not included. My partner’s 12 year old daughter was the test subject. The goal: to view my fledgling web based video game through the eyes of its target demographic. Would the subject of finance be so dry and intimidating that she would run from the console screaming? Or worse, yawn and ask if she can go play a real video game? Either would have been crushing. She let me sit beside her during the process. I explained the basic objective and how to navigate the options. I’ll admit that my excitement sent me into the same over-explaining mode that would usually incur an eye roll or deadpan stare. In a moment of intense self-awareness I asked her if I should leave her to it, expecting a stern yes. But something magic happened: the screen had her rapt. And more! She began asking me additional questions. Asking for guidance. Should I buy this or that? How do I decide? How do I get more money? Should I end my year? And when answers were given new questions were asked. Good questions. Ones that led to new features in future versions to make the player’s experience what it should be… what it was meant to be: fun. I’d done it. I’d kept a pre-teen’s attention with something both voluntary and educational. And what’s more: a subject riding dangerously close to math, which in previous semesters held a special place in her hatred. Although it was a small victory, it would be one of many along the way. And I’ll always look back on it as stand-out the most important.

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