August 28, 2003

Have fun while learning to protect your privacy

by Michael Mateas · , 11:47 am

While commuting in today there was radio news story about Carabella Goes to College, an edugame designed to teach new college students (presumably straying from the safety of the nest for the first time) to protect themselves from the dangers of a prying world:

Players of Carabella Goes to College experience a college-bound girl’s first week of school, when she has to make routine choices that determine whether she will be beset by identity thieves, aggressive marketers and hungry profiling software.

Players earn points by making decisions balancing privacy and convenience.

Full story available at Wired News.

2 Responses to “Have fun while learning to protect your privacy”

  1. Dennis G. Jerz Says:

    Part of me wants to compare this to grade-school pageants in honor of tooth decay prevention… but maybe this is a good way to teach this particular subject. And a good primary document to use in a study on gaming as propaganda.

    I’ve half-remembered a science fiction game that I read in some anthology… some government agents were charged with protecting Earth from the culturally dangerous messages that might be in imported toys. The story starts off with the governmnet dudes playing a board game like Monopoly, but they are really more concerned with a game that has little robot soldiers scurrying around a play fortress of some sort. Gradually, the soldiers start disappearing, and it turns out that they insert themselves into the fortress for some reason. Anyway, the whole soldier/fortress thing turns out to be a distraction — the offworld cartel that has produced the toys is only importing the soldier toy as a smoke screen for the strategy board game. Had the government agents read the rules to that board game, they would have learned that the game rewarded players who made bad business choices (that would, the story suggests, leave Earth open to financial take-over from the outside). I’m pretty sure I read the story during the late 80s, when Japanese technology was displacing the U.S. auto industry.

    Does that story sound familiar to anyone?

  2. michael Says:

    I haven’t read this story, but it sounds interesting – hope someone remembers the title. Reminds me of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode in which someone tries to take over the ship by getting the crew hooked on a game that directly stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain.

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