2014, Brazil. Game design students from various São Paulo universities attend the opening of the UNICEF and Electronic Arts partnership contest. Photo credit: UNICEF/BRZ/Thaiza Castilho
2014, Brazil. Game design students from various São Paulo universities attend the opening of the digital game contest. Photo credit: UNICEF/BRZ/Thaiza Castilho

The Innovation Unit has partnered with a video game company and the UNICEF Brazil country office in a project that combines education, football, video games, and the spirit of innovation. The project asks game design students from universities in São Paulo to form teams to create “edutainment” video games for submission to the first ever game development contest held by UNICEF in partnership with a large video game company. The educational video games are themed on the upcoming World Cup.

The aim of the contest is to get students to apply their technical and creative skills towards creating innovative educational tools, stimulating the development of digital games that can strengthen necessary literacy and logical skills for children  in the most underserved regions of Brazil. The target audience for the games will be children aged 6 to 8 years in the semi-arid regions in the Northeast of Brazil, where educational resources are not always present or adequate. The hope is that by lending these children access to ‘edutainment’ games, the project can encourage learning  in a fun, interactive, motivating and challenging way.

The game development contest has several eliminatory stages and during the final phase, the five games selected for user testing will be tested with children in the public school system in remote regions of Piaui.

Supporting this initiative are some of the best higher education institutions in digital games from Brazil such as Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP), the Faculdades Metropolitanas Unidas (FMU), Universidade Anhembi Morumbi, Senac and Universidade de São Paulo (ECA-USP).

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