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Thursday, June 27 • 1:30pm - 2:20pm
Looking Back at PlayForward: A Post-Mortem Panel of Designers, Developers & Researchers

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PlayForward: Elm City Stories is an iPad-based game designed to help youth at-risk for HIV and STD infections.  The game was produced over the course of a 18 month period and is now completed and in the course of a randomize clinical trial with after-school youth in New Haven, CT.

The game is designed to integrate risk reduction skills with social learning narratives with the hope that the acqusition of skills, practicing of behaviors, and exposure to important narratives can help youth better negotiate risky situations related to early sexual activity.  Such risks can include early drug and alcohol use, poor STD knowledge and preparedness, blind risk taking, and more.

PlayForward’s design process was extremely rigorous and involved multiple designers, developers, and researchers working together as a team to produce a game that has over 1000 individual pieces of content organized across four mini-game sections, a large-scale narrative structure, and an aspirational avatar model designed to improve self-esteem and longitudinal life orientation.

During this session members of the PlayForward design, research, and development team will gather for a frank and open discussion of the game’s development, covering the beginning, middle, and completion focusing on both the high-points, low-points, and still active wishlists that all games have when completed.

During the post-mortem conversation hundreds of slides will cycle behind the team providing a glimpse into some of the game’s early artwork tests, content trials, and even some of the best emails, and memo highlights that will be taken from an trove of over 1000+ pages of content the team is currently cataloguing for future archiving.

Attendees will see a major game for health effort laid bare, learn tips and tricks that only get learned from the crucible of actual development.  You will have a chance to get a sense of the creativity and sacrifices needed to build a health behavior game from scratch that comprises over 12 hours of gameplay built on a tight budget.


Sabrina Culyba

Principal Designer, Schell Games
Talk to me about transformational/educational games, game design, or the game development process.
avatar for Lynn Fiellin

Lynn Fiellin

Associate Professor of Medicine and the Yale Child Study Center, Yale Child Study Center
Lynn E. Fiellin, MD is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine and at the Yale Child Study Center. Her research focuses on developing and testing novel intervention models to promote health and reduce risk in vulnerable populations. She has received... Read More →
avatar for Ben Sawyer

Ben Sawyer

Co-Founder, Digitalmill
Games for Health

Thursday June 27, 2013 1:30pm - 2:20pm EDT
Room A: John Hancock Hall

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