Getting Serious With Budget Hero

In a postmortem of the serious game Budget Hero, co-creator David Rejeski examines how the game turned a seemingly mundane subject like balancing the U.S. budget into an enjoyable, and at times addictive, interactive experience.

David Rejeski @ Gamasutra: "The experiment was the following: Could you get a 20-year old to put away the Xbox or Wii controller for 30 minutes and play with the national budget?

In May 2008, the experiment commenced. That's when Budget Hero – the national budget game – went online, just in time for the 2008 presidential election (the game is located here). The front end of the game had to be fun, but the back end was dead serious.

The game was built upon the economic model and data used by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and contained over 160 policy options that players could combine in order to support programs, raise revenues, and, more generally, to earn "badges" that reflected player priorities (for instance, to purse energy independence, strengthen health care and social programs, or increase economic competitiveness)."

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