Celebrity Calamity: game that actually teaches financial literacy

Today sees the release of Celebrity Calamity, a browser-based game that has already been shown to improve financial-literacy skills. The game comes from the Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D), and is inspired by the research of D2D’s founder, Harvard Business School Professor Peter Tufano. D2D plans other games to target an endemic lack of financial skills and knowledge, particularly among low-income single mothers.

Here’s the best part: it seems to work. Preliminary testing results by D2D show:

  • financial skills & confidence up 15% to 30%
  • financial knowledge up 55% to 70%

I’m pleased to have had a small role in the Celebrity Calamity team. At the request of Prof. Tufano and D2D’s Nick Maynard, I assembled a few local game designers into a small brainstorming group.  Nick and I had hoped to conclude with a few high concepts and general principles, but the team exceeded all our hopes, and quickly converged on a core vision. After a huge amount of work by Nick and his development teams: it’s a game! From that initial brainstorming team, Jason Booth stayed with the project as advisor and designer.

Celebrity Calamity got a write-up by Anya Kamenetz on Fast Company’s blog. You can see the press release, or view the trailer on Youtube, or check out interviews with the test users.

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