Immersive game, A/V System and companion app design
Journey World started its life as a “mock city” program in which players are assigned to found and run a business – and over the course of a 4-hour program – build STEM and entrepreneurship skills through in-game commerce, business development, and civic engagement. Funded with an in-game loan, each business is led and staffed by players in grades K-12 with the goal of paying off the initial loan, running payroll for staff, and becoming solvent, successful – and most importantly, fun.
With a permanent downtown Chicago location, the original program had difficulty staying profitable, with a huge set overhead cost and an inconvenient location. The original program had to shut down due to costs and diminishing interest and the future was uncertain.
Collaborating with local set designers Lizzie Bracken, Collette Pollard, and Sally Weiss and Ravenswood Studios, we retrofitted the concept of Journey World into a touring set and A/V rig that could migrate between the Girl Scout’s local suburban camp properties with a minimum of staff setup and take down. By moving the program to more convenient locations for the district’s many suburban families, the program simultaneously cut rent costs drastically and booked a higher number of after school programs while making participation easier on families.
Our studio brought our skills in theatrical design and web development to build the inner workings of the game – from a set of in-game instructions, and forms that gave each business a feel of officialness to allow players to fully lose themselves in their role.
We developed a companion app to the game serves as an in-game ATM and Point of Sale system. From a networked set of tablets in each business, each player can scan a personal card to conduct either personal financial transactions or set up and conduct sales for their business. The system allows for immense flexibility and creativity – each business chooses what they will sell to the city and how they’ll sell products and services to other players. No two game sessions are the same – each round of players come up with endlessly creative products, services, marketing plans, pricing and discount models, and partnerships that get them to the final “epic win” of a financially solvent business and thriving city over the course of four hours.