Late 2016, Sea Monster took part in South Africa’s first ever Serious Games Competition, eventually becoming a selected finalist.
The initiative which was led by the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) and supported by the Western Cape Government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) challenged competitors to develop an app that would bring about social impact and innovation to the Western Cape’s poor communities through the implementation of an applied game.
Sea Monster collaborated with Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) for the competition submission. Our Mobile Game App, developed for Android and iOS, was built for youth groups to play either individually or together, allowing them to reflect on how the choices they made had the power to affect others. If they made good choices, amazing things could happen, if they make bad choices, opportunities would slip away and could affect their communities safety at large.
The Game Play.
Our prototype serious game, called Swipa, saw players imagining themselves as superheroes who must use their special abilities wisely to avoid depleting their resources.
Each time the player replayed the game they could see the different course their choices would take them. By engaging gaming as a solution, members of community programs could then discuss how balancing demands made them feel, and how they could approach making decisions in their own lives.
Data collected in the game allowed the DEDAT the ability to see where young people’s priorities lie. By changing behaviour through making the right choices, communities could earn support for projects such as a soccer field or an art centre from the DEDAT.
The submissions were adjudicated by a panel of local industry experts: including WITS game design lecturer Hanli Geyser, international game developer Veve Jaffer, start-up consultant Alex Fraser, gaming industry lawyer Nicholas Hall, and Olivia Dyers and Bianca Mpahlaza-Schiff of DEDAT.
The Serious About Games competition initiative is driven by the Cape Innovation and Tech Initiative (CiTi), in partnership with the Cape Craft and Design Initiative (CCDI), 67Games and Interactive Entertainment SA (IEASA); with funding and support from the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT).