why value based games matter


I wrote seven drafts before I came to this one. I tried to write about games in general, and to build up a story that will explain why I made The Guardians the way it is. You know what? It was stupid of me to do so.
The Guardians (iTunes link) is about discovering you values by playing a choose your own adventure game. One of the values I hold up high is being direct. So why did I try to go around and round instead of just talking to the point? Because it’s hard to live up to your values when the masses are looking. The urge to please the audience is just too big.

The Guardians is the story of the reader. After discovering she or he are part of a special group of world protectors named, well, The Guardians. The reader travels to Thonrasa, a world of talking animals who try to survive the arrival of a Darkness that is slowly destroying their world.

Each choice the reader makes changes the path of the story, there are no wrong choices just choices with different values. The point was to make a fun adventure that can also teach something. 
The question you are asking yourself is “why?”
That is a good question.

At the time, my first burn was five years-old daughter, ever since she was born, I wanted to write a book for her. I wrote two books in the past, but I really wanted to write a children's book. I also wanted to write a book in a new format, and one that can be read time and again as well, in different ways.

About a year before that I was approached by Shosh Maoz Arie. Shosh has a tool: cards that help people learn what values are important to them. It took me about a month of deep thinking before I decides to combine my wishful thinking of this strange book with the cards Shosh created. You see, as the saying goes “action speak louder than words” so what better way to discover what values you hold dear, than by making choices that can reflect on those values.

Building the story world and concept took about two months of work, and then started the hard task of shaping the application, and more importantly: write the story in a way that real values will be reflected in it.

The result? A beautiful book with Art by the talented Ron Nadel (an Israeli artist and a friend) with a fun story that after each read can tell you which values drove you.

I’m fascinated by the power games can have on us. This little book has been played by my daughter and some of her friends and after each time, we had such great talks about the choices they made. It opened up a line of communication that I didn’t thought exists in their young age. No, scratch that, I knew they probably feel and think in some way about these things; however, I was amazed that they can articulate their thoughts in such a precise way.

If you are a parent, I hope you download the app and read it with your kids, and I would love to hear about the talks you had after playing and discovering those hidden values.