P3: Reflection

In crafting our P3 systems game, CA$H OR CREDIT, my group aimed to simulate the complexities of the US credit score system and explore the broader landscape of personal finance. Our objective was to provide players with hands-on experience to understand the trade-offs between using cash and credit, the repercussions of loans and asset acquisitions on credit scores, and their broader implications for life opportunities. The game’s mechanics introduced core elements like assets, cash, salaries, loans, savings, credit scores, and bills. These objects gave rise to dynamics such as the timeliness of paying off bills and cycling through months with highs (getting salaries and random positive events) and lows (paying bills and random negative events). Later on, we added more player-to-player dynamics like bartering during asset collection and trading. For aesthetics, we aimed for a dual sense of enjoyment – the thrill of overcoming challenges in navigating the credit score system and the appeal of fantasy as players assumed the role of fictional characters kind of like in the Game of Life.

On a personal level, developing CA$H OR CREDIT was enlightening because I also learned so much about the credit score system while doing the necessary research. Particularly, despite how much I love to use debit, I discovered the significant impact of loans on credit scores, prompting me to actively work on improving my own credit. In terms of working with the group, I honed effective communication skills and navigated diverse perspectives.

While observing others play our game, there were many insightful moments. Many expressed surprise such as “wow, I didn’t know credit scores would go down then up like this” or “I can’t believe life just threw me two babies and now I have to pay for them – is that how my parents felt when they had me and my brother?”. It was interesting to watch as players drew parallels to real-life scenarios. My favorite moment occurred when a player spontaneously implemented a “budgeting” strategy by physically placing fake money on top of their Asset Cards, showcasing the immersive nature of the game.

Yes, despite these positive aspects, I’m still dissatisfied with the game’s dynamics. Players often pursue independent paths without significant collaboration or competition. This is in part due to the inherent nature of the credit score system, where individual decisions rather than other people predominantly shape one’s credit score. Looking ahead, my goal is to strike a balance between education and entertainment, ensuring that players not only grasp financial concepts but also find joy in the shared experience of navigating life’s financial challenges.

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