Assignment 3

Assignment 3 involves a learning game design. A PDF is here that follows the Word assignment formatting.

Game Design

  1. Game Title:  Race to Victory Day
  2. Game Genre: (Mixed) Simulation (immersive), mini puzzles, treasure hunt
  3. Target Audience:  High School
  4. Subject Area(s): American History / World History
  5. Topics Covered: World War II
  6. Learning Objectives/Standards Addressed

Texas §113.41. United States History Studies Since 1877

(7)  … The student understands the domestic and international impact of U.S. participation in World War II. The student is expected to:

  1. identify reasons for U.S. involvement in World War II, including Italian, German, and Japanese dictatorships and their aggression, especially the attack on Pearl Harbor;
    1. evaluate the domestic and international leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman during World War II, including the U.S. relationship with its allies and domestic industry’s rapid mobilization for the war effort;
    1. analyze the function of the U.S. Office of War Information;
    1. analyze major issues of World War II, including the Holocaust; the internment of German, Italian, and Japanese Americans and Executive Order 9066; and the development of conventional and atomic weapons;
    1. analyze major military events of World War II, including the Battle of Midway, the U.S. military advancement through the Pacific Islands, the Bataan Death March, the invasion of Normandy, fighting the war on multiple fronts, and the liberation of concentration camps;
    1. evaluate the military contributions of leaders during World War II, including Omar Bradley, Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, Chester A. Nimitz, George Marshall, and George Patton; and
    1. explain the home front and how American patriotism inspired exceptional actions by citizens and military personnel, including high levels of military enlistment; volunteerism; the purchase of war bonds; Victory Gardens; the bravery and contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen, the Flying Tigers, and the Navajo Code Talkers; and opportunities and obstacles for women and ethnic minorities.

Massachusetts HSS.USILT3.08

Explain the long-term consequences of important domestic events during the war.

a)    the War’s stimulus to economic growth
b)    the beginning of the second Great Migration of African Americans from the South to industrial cities of the North and to California
c)     A. Philip Randolph and the efforts to eliminate employment discrimination on the basis of race
d)     large numbers of women in the workforce of munitions industries and serving in non-combat jobs in the military, including as pilots, clerks, computer scientists, and nurses
e)     the internment of West Coast Japanese Americans in the U.S. and Canada
f)     how the two world wars led to greater demands for civil rights for women and African Americans.

[Note: WordPress’ proprietary code does not support continuing the ordered list due to a nested paragraph, so items #7 on are listed with color block headings, not numbers.]


The primary goals of the game involve the learner getting an hands-on impression of everyday life and challenges existing on the American homefront (and in other countries) including the expectation to conserve, collect raw and recyclable materials, volunteer to serve in the military or aid with a major aspect of the war effort, or work for a munitions or other factory.

In each chapter of the game, the learner will amass “war stamps,” which were sold on the homefront, along with “war bonds”, by successfully playing through segments of the game, answering questions and playing minigames. As the learner collects stamps, and BONUS stamps, they will be collected in a ration book, similar to those used to buy groceries and other goods.

At the end of each chapter, the points are randomly assessed and counted. The stamps will then be transformed in chapter 1 and chapter 2 to a different object related to the war: for example, a Jeep; a tank; a Merchant Marine ship; a giant package of food and clothing for orphans in Okinawa or the Netherlands. An info box will explain how each object influenced the course of World War II.  

At the end of the game, the military points system is described, and depending on how many points the learner has amassed in Chapter 1, the game character’s father receives enough points to arrive home in either May or June 1945.


There are no hard and fast “wrong” answers or rules for the game that are separate from the actions needed to proceed. The game should involve enough opportunities for exploration to reward curiosity: unlike the vintage materials at museums, which would fall apart if touched by visitors, learners can open drawers, books, cabinets, touch or use objects, and select audiovisual media (radio, music, and films) as they might in Second Life, Grand Theft Auto, and various games that focus on verisimilitude and multimedia. To proceed in the game, the user must interact with certain objects in the simulation, and finish minigames. For example, in the treasure hunt of Chapter 1, the learner must find at least 10 items before moving onto the next chapter.  To move between Chapter 1 and 2, they will have to decide what mode of transportation to take, to visit the town’s downtown. For the NPCs to interact with the learner in Chapter 3, they will have to participate in various short simulation tasks. When the learner is prompted to answer an ethical question, they can type in an answer, which can be generated and sent to a teacher or parent if used in a classroom for future discussion.


Chapter 1: “Waste Not, Want Not”. Welcome to Mobile, Alabama, March 13th, 1942. A sixteen year old teenager is walking home from school on this Friday afternoon. Mother starts her war work shift at 3, and Father volunteered for the Navy on Boxing Day 1941 (December 26th), so the teenager is responsible for sharing the household tasks, and helping care for younger siblings. The teenager must walk through the different rooms of the house and consider how different conservation and household tasks will help win the war.

Chapter 2: “Saturday Morning”. It’s time to run some errands, and maybe have a little fun in town. The teenager travels to town, with bonus characters depending on transportation mode, then visit some simulated locations. The learner has an opportunity to watch contemporary film trailers, visit a cobbler, read newsstand stories, and play a minigame in the grocery.  

Chapter 3: “It’s Your Swing Shift”. The teenager will participate in simulated activities that happened on the homefront, practice tasks in locations (military hospital, USO canteen, farm), and will encounter ethical and social quandaries.


First, the learner selects either a 16 year old boy or girl avatar to play through. The avatars have different names and come in varying shades with different WWII-era hair styles, including crew cuts and pompadours for male avatars. Users can also upload a headshot photo or take a photo of themselves that can be mixed with stationary pictures later in the game, and use their personal name.


Chapter 1: “Waste Not, Want Not”. The teenager must walk through the different rooms of the house and, through a treasure hunt, consider how different conservation and household tasks will help win the war. In this treasure hunt, the teenager must find at least ten objects that are related to winning the war effort. The teenager may either exit through the front door, or through the back door (where the Victory garden enables the player to pull up vegetables, which triggers a “Rick-roll” video of the popular contemporary song “The Celery Stalks at Midnight”.)

Chapter 2: “Saturday Morning”. The teenager must travel to town, and depending on transportation mode selection, which buildings are visited first in Chapter 2, and earlier game play in Chapter 1, has an opportunity to collect bonus points. The learner has an opportunity to watch contemporary film trailers, visit a cobbler, read news stand stories, and play a minigame in the grocery, which mimics the real life experience of swapping stamps for specific types of groceries and other goods.  After reading the news stand stories, the learner is prompted to list the stories in order of their impact on foreign policy and the homefront, and can type in feedback.

Chapter 3: “It’s Your Swing Shift”. The teenager interacts with NPC that are communicating about crucial ethical decisions and experiences in wartime, and is prompted to respond with feedback to the ethical and social questions encountered.  

Descriptions of 3D Environments

Chapter 1:

Overall description (visual)

In chapter 1, the teenager starts by walking on the sidewalk of a Mobile street, and taking steps towards the front door of a house, which has a pennant with a blue star on the front.

The Living Room is a large room with tan wood paneling and small print-patterned wallpaper, and picture windows. Furniture includes a matching loveseat, easy chair, picture windows, a large radio, writing desk and shelf, thermostat, and a back door.

The Backyard features a large victory garden, several rows of plants carefully arranged.

The Kitchen is painted white and light blue, and has a small sink with two “taps”, a large can, a stove/oven and food preparation counters featuring a coffee can, maple syrup, additional cans, including one that is already opened, and a metal recipe card box. There is a wooden table with colonial style chairs to match.

The Master Bedroom and Bath has a small window, a sink with a vanity mirror and chair, a wooden armoire and full length mirror. There is also a bed, small dresser table, and light, along with a radio. (This offers a second opportunity to listen to the same radio selections as in the living room.)

Game Mechanics (or actions).

All of these items can be interacted with through touch; the user will be prompted to “use”, “wear”, and “sit,” similar to the options offered in Second Life. Those that are marked with underlining gain challenge points if they are triggered; the others are simply for the VR experience.

In-world tools/resources

Learners can also flip through a book on the table to see war posters that hint at certain drives and conservation efforts.


Walk through the house until you have collected at least 10 means of assisting the war effort.
If learner collects more than 10, there is a hidden bonus. 

Characters or NPC
In this chapter, only the player is active.

In-world tools/resources

There is a pamphlet explaining how the rationing system works and what is currently rationed (gasoline/rubber, nylon, sugar, coffee, shoes, leather, etc.)


Living Room

-If touched, blackout curtains roll down with a discussion of how they protect during air raids
-The open window, if touched, are shut by the user. An info box explains: “Pull windows closed to save fuel”.

-Recordings can be heard (all top rated shows from radio during the 1940s), both as a :30 snippet and a full length program

The knobs can be turned up and down the dial. Each location on the AM dial is a different show, listed in an information box popup:

Bing Crosby / Kraft Music Hall

Bob Hope / Pepsodent Show

Duffy’s Tavern

Fibber McGee and Molly

Grand Central Station

Information, Please

Inner Sanctum Mysteries

Jack Benny Show / Lucky Strike

Jergens Journal with Walter Winchell

Kay Kyser’s Kollege (“of musical knowledge”)

Lux Radio Theatre

Mr. District Attorney

Pepper Young’s Family

Portia Faces Life

The Adventures of the Thin Man

The Goldbergs

William Shirer

Your Hit Parade

An information box explains: While people still walked to picture shows, more people listened at home to save money and conserve fuel for special occasions.

Writing Desk / Bookshelf
-Armed Forces Edition Paperbacks, Information box explains how these editions save paper

– A regular pen and paper can be clicked, and the user can practice cursive, but does not accrue points.
-V Mail, Information box explains how using this format saves paper
-Deck of cards – Information box explains how playing solitaire, bridge or other entertainments at home in lieu of a night on the town also conserves fuel
-Typewriter – Information box explains that in 1942, all privately owned, non-essential typewriters were requested for armed forces, since factories were being turned into other war production

-Drops in temperature when touched. “Keep it to 65 during the day and lower at night to preserve fuel”

Stuffed chair

The chair can be sat in, but does not trigger points.
-There is a basket next to the chair, full of knitting needles and yarn, if the user touches it, an information box explains that hats, scarf and other knitted clothing drives help the war efforts, as do drives to make baby clothes for refugees and orphans.

Back Door – if this is touched, this triggers the Backyard to open (with a creaking noise similar to the famous sound from Inner Sanctum Mysteries)

An information box reads “BONUS! You started the victory garden. Come check on your work.”
The user can pull out different vegetables, triggering the song “The Celery Stalks at Midnight” to pop up in another window.


-The can next to the sink is for saving fats. An information box explains how fats can be used for explosives, and that by saving fats they are now gaining points and a discount that can be used at the grocery when buying meat from the butcher.
-The taps on the sink.  An information box explains: Use cold water tap whenever possible to conserve fuel (from heating hot water).

Stove/Oven and Preparation counter (Informational boxes follow)
– Coffee – You extend yours by mixing in chicory

– Maple syrup – Since sugar is rationed, many substitute with syrup and honey.

– Canned foods – These last longer and are more economical than fresh.
– Opened can – A popup shows how metal drives were immensely popular with civilians, including children.
– Recipe card box – Information box explains, “Bake Victory cake without sugar or eggs” and gives a sample recipe.

-Butter dish – The player can create margarine mushing together a yellow dot to change its color. An informational box explains how butter was rationed.
-Canning glasses – “Canning foods means preserving fresh fruits and vegetables for later”

Bedroom with Master Bathroom

-Blackout curtain (as before).

-Leg makeup (similar to foundation)  silk stockings are needed for parachutes
-Lipstick – “Wearing makeup and maintaining femininity, was considered patriotic. Elizabeth Arden famously created a makeup kit for women marines, and other companies created shades of red lipstick called things like “Jeep Red”.

Armoire (next to a mirror)
There is a dress hanging on the armoire – “This military-influenced dress was sewn at home, uses less fabric, and has fewer buttons and zippers. After the war, the “New Look” designed by Christian Dior, became popular throughout the Western World, with larger silhouette dresses with cinched waists, that featured more fabric and a sense of new prosperity.”

If the user wishes, they can click on the mirror and see the dress as worn by the mother of the house.


Ambient sounds (creaking floors and shoes as the user walks around; the sound of a curtain being drawn down) and media (if the user selects a radio sample or plays a full show).

Chapter 2:

Overall description (visual):

The user is prompted to leave Saturday morning for the Main Street of town. First, they are faced with a screen showing the family car parked on the street, with a bicycle parked in front. A screen prompts the user to either walk down the street, or select the bicycle or car (which trigger virtual states).

Characters or NPC

(Most of these NPC are female)

Air Raid Warden

Mrs. Kroft, neighbor



Grocery Checker

Box Office Clerk

Movie Theater Usher

Newsstand owner

Game mechanics (actions)

Learner can guide the avatar towards the street (walking), click on the bicycle or car to activate them, and click on each of the locations on Main Street, and then move around to look around and touch items.

On the grocery minigame, stamps must be swapped for specific types of canned goods. (There is no specific “winning combination”, users must simply try to pay for their items with stamps and bring it to the checker. The process is to help the learner understand why ration books were very valuable, and managing ration books became a major activity to limit the expenses of wartime households.)

On the newsstand minigame, the user can look at a list of the selected/read stories, and raise or lower their headlines in order of foreign policy and homefront importance (two separate lists).

In-world tools/resources

There is a hint box that pops up in the upper right hand corner, but users will be encouraged to explore for themselves.

There is a pamphlet explaining how the rationing system works and what is currently rationed (gasoline/rubber, nylon, sugar, coffee, shoes, leather, etc.)

Challenges or obstacles

In the mini-game inside the grocery, the user has to swap stamps for specific types of canned goods. A screen opens showing how many stamps are left in the booklet.

There is an information box BONUS! If the user visits this location (the grocery) first or second on the street – the butcher announces, “Good, you got here in time for some butter and butcher meat!”

The following all have different items that can be selected, with an information screen listing their cost.

-Butcher (BONUS! screen pops up if the user has saved fats)

-Dairy aisle

-Canned meat

-Canned vegetables

-Staples (flour)

-Sugar (only if visited first or second)


On Street (if user walks only)

When the learner makes the first decision moving from Chapter 1 location to Chapter 2, there is a prompt:

How do you travel today?

Car (Go to Main Street – a notice on the screen pops up, explaining that you just used up 10 miles of the family’s “A” gas license, which only allows a small amount of rationed gas, and therefore no one will be able to use the car next weekend to go out.)

Walking (Go to Main Street – 10 point BONUS!)

Bicycling (Go to Main Street 5 point BONUS!)

On Street (if user walks only)

Air Raid Warden – asking the learner to remember the blackout drill that happens tonight

Mrs. Kroft, neighbor – greeting player, hangs a second blue star on her front porch window

Main Street

Cobbler – Bonus screen appears – “You’re wise to visit with me! Having your shoes resoled and fixed saves money, since shoes are rationed. What three pairs would you like to buy for your family, including small children?”

Air Raid Warden – asking the learner to remember the blackout drill that happens tonight

Mrs. Kroft, neighbor – greeting, hangs a second blue star on her front porch window

Main Street

Cobbler – Bonus screen appears – “Having your shoes resoled and fixed saves money, since shoes are rationed. What three pairs would you like to buy for your family, including small children?”

Butcher – “What kind of meat would you like?” (If bonus triggered: “Good, you got here in time/ Good, you brought me some fats. I still have some good pieces, and I’m glad to give it to someone who saved some bacon fat for me.”)

Grocery Checker – smiles, non-speaking, shows how stamp system works in grocery

Box Office Clerk – “This ticket is good for one show. Most people walk in whenever they have time, and don’t worry about waiting until a particular showtime to start. That’s how we do it.”

Movie Theater Usher – “Which movie are you seeing?” (User must select from list below)

“C’mon, The movie’s about to start, which trailers would you like to view?

Learners can select from the following movies (all trailers run 1-3 minutes or less):

Cat People
Foreign Correspondent
The Great Dictator
The Male Animal
Meet Me in St. Louis
Mrs. Miniver
Shadow of a Doubt
So Proudly We Hail
The Story of G.I. Joe
They Were Expendable
To Have and Have Not
The Wolf Man

Newsstand owner – “So much news to keep up with!”

User can select a minimum of 5 articles to read, or even all:

– Bataan Peninsula siege

– Carole Lombard killed with mother and others in TWA Flight 3 crash

– Wannsee Conference ends with Nazis’ “Final Solution” to “Jewish problem”

– MacArthur leaves Philippines

– L.A. blackout panic / “Battle of Los Angeles”

– Japanese American internment

– The death of the 5 Sullivan brothers

– Doolittle Raid in Tokyo

– Reichstag dissolves

– Battle of Coral Sea

– Battle of Midway

– El Alamein

– Guadalcanal Campaign

– Quit India campaign begins

– Dieppe Raid

– Stalingrad

– Gasoline rationing starts

– Siege of Leningrad begins

– Fermi’s nuclear chain reaction

– Convoy ON 154 attacked by “wolfpack” U-boats

– Cocoanut Grove Fire in Boston

– “Chattanooga Choo Choo” is first ‘gold’ record

– White Rose leaders are arrested and killed

– Eamon de Valera’s “comely maidens” speech

– Sweden’s Easter Riots

– Memphis Belle completes 25 missions safely for a War Bond drive

– Rosie the Riveter is invented

– Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles

– Detroit riots

– Battle of Kursk

– Italy invaded

– Chiang Kai-shek becomes chairman of Nationalist China

– Radar is invented

– Mussolini is deposed

– Pentagon opens

– FDR freezes prices, salaries and wages

– Oklahoma! premieres

– Withholding tax begins

– Bombay Explosion

– Enigma code is broken

– Lt. Jackie Robinson arrested and court-martialed over refusing to move to back of bus

– von Stauffenberg 20 July plot fails to kill Hitler

– Tsushima Maru is sunk

– D-Day

– Red Ball Express starts

– Battle of the Bulge

– GI Bill of Rights passed

– FDR reelected

– Yalta conference


Ambient sounds and canned audio clips by the characters, which can always be toggled as captions.

Chapter 3:

Overall description (visual)

There are multiple buses available that will take the user to different locations during the “swing shift”. Buses are painted two shades of blue-green and marked with numbers. The military hospital is a Quonset hut painted white; the canteen is a Quonset hut painted khaki; the justice of the peace is inside a small office building, with white walls, a very small, basic podium with a waiting room holding twenty people; the park is green and spacious, and overlooks the harbor from a great distance; the bomber plant is long and charcoal-colored; and finally, the farm is a very broad patch of land with a large grain elevator and what appear to be thirty people working on crops, split between two fields, separated with a wire fence.

Characters or NPC


Cpl. Jacks

Petty Officer Washington

Pvt. Gil Gardner

Lt. Belle

Betty Lou Liddell

Cpl. Scott Winters






Game mechanics (actions)

Player will have to trigger certain simulated actions in order to prompt actions by the NPC. These include rolling bandages, making a bed, mopping the floor, selecting and reading a book title; playing a minigame “card game” against the computer, selecting a different popular song for the player’s avatar to “dance with”, planting five seeds into a soil plot, and playing a memory game for detail.

In-world tools/resources

There is a pamphlet explaining Executive Order 9066, Executive Order 9102, and the Korematsu decision.

There is a pamphlet explaining segregation in the Armed Forces, and Jim Crow laws about public establishments south of the Mason-Dixon line. Summaries are provided about Native American wind talkers and other servicemembers, as well as about Latinos and Native Americans serving in the military.

There is also a pamphlet outlining brief discussions of women’s role in the war effort, describing “Rose the Riveter”,  the rules for junior hostesses at the USO and Stage Door Canteens (two separate systems), and the multiple women’s armed forces groups that were created during this time (WAVES, WASPS, WACS, SPARS, women marines, and civilian nurse corps).

Challenges or obstacles

After clicking on simulation tasks described above, the user must consider how to deal with ethical and social quandaries, described as interactions.


A voiceover (the player’s “mother”) explains, “It may be late Saturday afternoon, but I am working till late – and your help is still needed. How do you want to participate first?”

Bus #5 (Goes to the hospital)

This hospital is very spartan and clean. There are Army, Navy, and Marine patients in long-term recovery beds. A user can check each of the beds in the floor, which have attached clipboards naming each patient and their service.

In the simulation, the learner rolls bandages, makes beds, and mops the floor – when a NPC says,

“Hey, who is that? Hello? Who’s that?”

The player must search to find who is talking.

“What can you do to help Corporal Jacks?” (The Jacks character has been blinded. His hands and eyes are wrapped in gauze.) “Hi there. Nice to meet you.”

1. Tell him you’ll get the doctor

2. Ask him if he’d like a drink of water

If the user selects #1, Cpl. Jacks says he doesn’t want the doctor.

1. Ask him if he’d like a drink of water

2. Ask him where he’s from.

Either answer triggers a conversation with Cpl. Jacks, who explains he’s from Gary, Indiana, and asks “if you’ll write a letter for him.”

As the player’s avatar sketches a letter out, the NPC describes a battle front experience (1 of 5, randomized and selected from the list of major battles listed on the newsstand: e.g. Battle of the Coral Sea, OR Invasion of Italy, etc.,), and when he is done, the player is prompted to guess which front he served on, and in what country and battle.

As he finishes, the player hear a warning siren, and the lights go out. It’s the blackout drill. One of the patients, Petty Officer Washington, who is stuck in traction from back surgery, begins sobbing, and Cpl. Jacks and a soldier, Pvt. Gil Gardner, try to comfort him by calling out to him across the room. Lt. Belle, the ward nurse, opens the door to the ward, and lights a candle, then hands the player another. “I’ll read to PO Washington,” she tells you. You find a book for Cpl. Jacks and Pvt. Gardner.”

The screen prompt reads: Select One:

1. I should pick a book that’s not about the war.

2. I’ll ask Pvt. Gardner what he wants to hear.

If #1 is picked, Lt. Belle explains, “We can’t assume for them what they want to hear. Some servicemembers want to understand why they had to fight. Just ask them what they’d like to hear best.”

Randomly, Pvt. Gardner and Cpl. Jacks each suggest a book. The learner is prompted to click on the covers of all the books (each best seller from 1941-1945), which feature a brief summary, then select one final section.

Randomly, Pvt. Gardner and Cpl. Jacks each suggest a book. The learner is prompted to click on the covers of all the books (each best seller from 1941-1945), which feature a brief summary, then select one final section.











The user is asked to read a sample page, and then prompted to answer a question from one of the patients about the book (for instance, if the book is the best-seller STRANGE FRUIT, about an interracial marriage, Pvt. Gardner asks, “I’m a little surprised that this book was banned in Boston. Why do you think that was? Can you think of another book or film that was banned?”)

Similar questions will be posed about BERLIN DIARY and YOU CAN’T DO BUSINESS WITH HITLER: (“It was pretty obvious after Kristallnacht, and the “Night of the Long Knives”, that Hitler was willing to kill people and invade their countries to get his way. So… Why do you think some people were against the US getting involved in the war?”)

MRS. MINIVER: (“I was thinking about the evacuation at Dunkirk. That’s a pretty exciting part of the book. Can you think of another example where civilians came together to work on a massive project, or a massive evacuation?”)

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS: (“How do you think the Spanish Civil War related to this war? What do you think will happen next in Spain, and in Europe as a whole, if we win the war against the fascists?”)

PAUL REVERE AND THE WORLD HE LIVED IN: (“What do you think Mr. Revere would make of our relationship with the British today? How has our relationship with the British changed? Where will it be in the future, say, 75 years from now?”)

GUADALCANAL DIARY: (“It sounds like making sure there were reinforcements and lots of supplies was the key to winning this long battle. That reminds me of another situation where supplies made the difference in battle. What kind of supplies are most important in wartime?”)

BRAVE MEN: (“One of my friends met Ernie Pyle once. Why do you think he was so popular among the servicemen AND civilians on the homefront?”)

CHILDREN OF LIGHT AND THE CHILDREN OF DARKNESS: (“Wow. I have a lot of thoughts after hearing you reading this. How do you think this war changed our democracy, and our ideas about democracy?”)

AND KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY: (“Imagine an anthropologist writing about our world today – as if she was analyzing us at a zoo! That’s pretty funny. What do you think she would say about the world 75 years later? What do you think the major differences would be between 1944 and 2019?”)

– Bus #6 (Goes to Canteen)

Tasks to complete:

Player can engage in a simulated card game with a soldier (mini game against the computer)

Dance with a sailor (user gets to select a different popular song from the jukebox, then dance to it, either as jitterbug

– male or female user –

or slow dance [female user].


“Your friend Betty Lou Liddell dances on the first shift, 6 to 9, at the Mobile USO Canteen. She has danced tonight with a marine she really likes, Cpl. Scott Winters. He wants to see her again outside the canteen, because he leaves tomorrow, but that would break the rules. Scott is a really nice person who reminds you of your best friend, and you know he is a shy guy who really cares for Betty Lou. What should she do?”

1. Sneak out with you and Scott, after her shift, at the malt shop.

2. Have Scott write her at the Canteen, instead, so she can help other people at the canteen.

If the learner selects 1. – “Oops! Cpl. Scott and Betty Lou went out to a malt shop with you, but a senior hostess saw the three of you together, and you two broke the rules – even though you weren’t doing anything more than having a soda. You both lost your Canteen cards and will have to volunteer some other way.

Is this fair? Why or why not?”

If 2. is selected or after the “Canteen card” is lost –

“Scott and Betty Lou have decided they are getting married. You are their witness at the justice of the peace.

The scene changes to the Justice of the Peace.  There is a long line of very young people getting married – civilian girls marrying servicemen, and even some couples where both the boy and the girl are in uniform.

Several of you begin to talk, and want to go out to dinner at the same diner afterward.  The scene changes to the diner, but then Jermaine and Sandra, who are black, are refused service by the white owner. The group decides to get a large “takeaway” order and has a picnic in the park.

Interaction at the park— each of these NPCs tell the player their “story”, as if in a friendly group conversation.

Abby, an Army nurse who is marrying an airman who she outranks, was told she couldn’t attend the Canteen, because it’s only for servicemen, like her new husband, Jed. She was told that she could dress in civilian clothes if she wants to work in the Canteen herself, though that interferes with Abby’s duty schedule at the service hospital.

Jermaine tells the group that he was allowed to go in the Stage Door Canteen in Baltimore, alongside white servicemen, and they gave him some doughnuts and coffee, but he wasn’t allowed to dance with any of the white hostesses. He says it’s still a lot better than the base in North Carolina, where they let the German prisoners of war eat with the white soldiers, but he and the other black soldiers had to eat second in line, after the food had cooled, in a segregated tent.

Scott says he thinks that’s not fair for anyone who is serving in the military. Scott’s father was born in Germany, has lived in the USA for 20 years, and only needed a few more steps to finish his naturalization. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, FDR announced that there were new rules for over a million people who are considered to be “enemy aliens”. Scott’s father was let go from his job at a factory – the factory owner had to do it, legally – he had to sell his house because there are rules about how closely an enemy alien can live by a coastline, and he now has to follow a nightly curfew.

Sandra agrees that there shouldn’t be different standards because of someone’s ethnic background, if they are otherwise loyal and can pass a basic security screen. She then says that she is tired of being expected to use different bathrooms, and the side door of restaurants, just because she is black. She and Jermaine are part of the war effort, too. She says she heard that Billie Holliday, the famous jazz singer, wasn’t even allowed to use a bathroom at a fancy restaurant where she was performing as one of the lead acts, with Artie Shaw. Sandra adds that when she drives back to Maryland from Alabama, she will need to use a Green Book to find a hotel that is willing to let her sleep there.

After each NPC poses the quandary, the player is asked:

“What do you think the term “double victory” means?

Can you think of anything similar to a “Green Book” today?

Who uses something similar, in order to avoid trouble when traveling?

What do you think are the benefits and drawbacks of being married in wartime?

What do “Dear John letters” and “the baby boom” have to do with World War II? Is there anything that would have changed these situations?

Can you think of any way that you might help Abby, Jermaine, Scott, and Sandra?”

Bus #12 (Goes to the bomber plant)

Minigame: The player is tested for attention to detail. The player is expected to remember different kinds of aircraft, and match them under the many cards. (This is a traditional memory game with forty cards, twenty pairs of two, which are face down, and which must be checked and rechecked until the player can flip two identical cards in succession.)

If the player complete the minigame in less than ten minutes, the player is put through a simulation of working on a fuselage.

Bus #9 (Goes to Farm)

A prompt explains that there are not enough farm workers to help with all crops, so you can volunteer with the “land army”.

Tasks to complete:

The farm minigame has player select from fifteen kinds of vegetables to plant. Using a pamphlet, player must mark on the screen which five vegetables will each be planted in three fields, based on whether player should do it now for the spring, in the spring for the summer, or in the summer for the fall. (Or, spring: 5; summer: 5; fall: 5.)

After player completes the game, there is a brief, close-up simulation of digging into the soil and planting for the spring. Player must briefly plant five sets of seeds.

Player look ups and across. There is a wire fence, behind which player see other people farming. Player walks over and says hello. One of the younger people comes over. She says her name is Midori, and she is a Nisei, or a Japanese American. In the conversation, the learner hears:

1) Midori is from the West Coast, and was ordered to this internment camp in early 1942. The internees were first put in a camp at Santa Anita, a horse racing park, but now they are here at this internment camp. They are expected to farm their own food, which is why they are working out here.

2) Midori’s cousin Benjamin, who lives in Honolulu, was not put in a camp, though all kinds of civilians, whatever their backgrounds, were required to work on war effort tasks in the days and months after Pearl Harbor. He recently volunteered for a special fighting force, all Japanese-Americans, the 442nd, who will fight in Europe.

3) Midori’s sister Yoko is married to a newspaperman who published a Japanese language paper before the war. He is sent to Crystal City, in Texas, where there are also interned Americans and “enemy aliens” who are from German, Italian and South America. Yoko became friendly with a South American who is Japanese-ethnicity, but one day she disappeared, because she had been sent to Japan, in trade for an American POW.

Prompt: What can you do to help Midori, her family, and friends?


Recorded comments from NPCs, which can always be toggled as captions, and ambient sounds such as planting, digging noises; the sound of a busy diner, factory or waiting room.

  1. Levels and Progression

There are three levels, becoming progressively more difficult and open-ended, beginning with a simple treasure hunt with easy clues, moving to a general VR simulation of activities, with some decision making and minigames, and ending with a more “serious game” scope.

Number of Players

This is a single player game.

Estimated Length of Gameplay

Chapter 1: 20 minutes (not including time playing media selections)

Chapter 2: 20 minutes (not including time playing media selections)

Chapter 3: 30 to 60 minutes (not including time playing media selections)

Cognitive Processes Required for Gameplay

Remembering — Yes – for memory game in Chapter 3, users should remember where pieces are to pair them. Otherwise, it is helpful if students can remember previously taught information about the war.

Understanding – No. Students can benefit even if they don’t have prior understanding of the war effort and activities.

Applying – Yes. Learners will be applying the new game play they have learned, and their understanding of the rationing system, in order to play the minigame in Chapter 2’s grocery store.

Analyzing Yes – Student will be given opportunities to analyze new information that they have just learned, through the pamphlets offered on each level, and the section of Chapter 3 that allows them to read a sample passage from multiple best-selling books.

Evaluating – Yes. Player is asked to evaluate concepts of fairness based on the experience of different NPCs, in Chapter 3.

Creating – No.

Skills Required for Gameplay

Critical thinking – Yes, user must consider what transportation to take from Chapter 1’s location to Chapter 2’s location, what choices to make from a list of rationed items in Chapter 2, what books to read aloud in Chapter 2, and then also use critical thinking to consider whether the NPCs in Chapter 3 are treated fairly.

Problem solving Yes – Student will be given opportunities to apply new information that they have just learned, through the pamphlets offered on each level, for instance, how Executive Orders impacted different Americans based on their race or ethnicity.

Decision making – Yes, player must not only make the critical thinking decisions listed above (transportation from Chapter 1 to 2, rationed items, and how to help NPC characters in Chapter 3) but can also choose from a selection of songs on a jukebox in Chapter 3, a group of books to read in Chapter 3, movie trailers to view in Chapter 2, and radio sound files to listen to in Chapter 1, and which items to select and interact with in Chapter 1.

Creativity Yes – the player is encouraged to come up with creative answers to the NPCs’ predicaments in Chapter 3.

Communication Yes – the player is encouraged to provide feedback, especially to Chapter 3 predicaments presented as conversations with NPCs.

Collaboration No.

Psychomotor skills No.

Content Integration

This game requires prior knowledge: No, but prior knowledge will be helpful, and can be assessed (such as feedback through Chapter 2 and 3).

This game teaches academic content. Yes.

Content integration strategies and rationale:

Academic content is provided and used in a variety of ways: through traditional, point and click/scroll text formats (pamphlets explaining ‘how to’, and informational boxes that appear when certain items are selected or clicked), but also through experiential and kinesthetic means: for instance, in Chapter 1, users can turn on the sink in the kitchen, touch the window to see a blackout curtain slide down.

There is also inferential academic content provided through the major media of the time: newspaper stories, radio (fiction and non-fiction broadcasts), books, and movies.

These multitude of strategies are to help learners approach the concept of the homefront, and the wider geopolitical conflict, from a variety of angles, acknowledging that there were serious ramifications for the world and the United States, as well as different social, political and ethnic groups around the world, that continue to reverberate over 7 decades later.

Open-ended learning and discussion is also a better way to consider difficult ethical questions about World War II that the human race will likely always struggle with (authoritarianism and fascism, ethnic cleansing, total war strategies, the treatment of prisoners and surrendered populations, collaboration vs. forced abuse, the use of carpet bombing and atomic weaponry), though these are not the purview of the game. During high school, many of these learners will be struggling to answer these questions for the first time, and importantly, will soon not be able to ask great-grandparents or grandparents who were alive during this time period.

The prompts (in Chapter 3) comparing how different groups (Japanese-Americans and other Americans of “Axis” ancestry, African Americans, women, etc.) were treated may better enable discussion between parents and children, or teachers and students in a group discussion setting, and be an important first step in learning to think clearly and critically about ethical issues.  

Through the use of simulation and certain actions, there are also concrete differences in the way that life was experienced in 1940s America, versus today, and the consumption of media. “Walking through” and interacting with a simulation with rich detail may help players better understand what the 1940s actually looked like, tasted like, sounded like, and ‘felt’ like.

Engagement Strategies

Entertainment-education often uses serial storytelling to engage learners and audience members in new learning, self-care, or other strategies that improve societal functioning. Chapter 3 uses open-ended serial storytelling to engage the player; the player is also given a variety of games in each chapter, to make this game more engaging.

Scaffolding Strategies

Gradually, students will have the opportunity to move from very general, household bound topics about World War II, to beginning ethical questions by the end. The game in Chapter 1 is very simple, becomes more open ended in Chapter 2, and very open ended by Chapter 3. Students are also given the opportunity to use “hot media”, beginning with radio, that engages just one sense (hearing) in Chapter 1, and builds to another – movies, which are more visual, in Chapter 2, as well as newspaper stories, and finally book excerpts in Chapter 3, which are still hot. These book excerpts are more challenging to become engaged in and to understand for many of today’s learners, who are exposed to months if not years of audiovisual television and digital content before they learn how to read unadorned print.

Assessment Strategies

There are basic in-world assessments, the collection of points, but there is no scaling. Points simply exist as a motivator and a way of acknowledging the involvement of the game. Out-world assessment can happen through the consideration of open-ended feedback to prompts, particularly in section 3. It is also desirable for students to discuss their formative learning experience in class.

Major Purpose of the Game Integration:

 This game will be mainly used as an instructional tool and formative assessment.  Many introductions to World War II begin with information about the attack on Pearl Harbor, when the United States entered the war (and rarely includes details about the war in Asia during 1937 and 1938, when China and Japan fought an undeclared war; and usually nests the beginning of the European war, from 1939 to the US entrance in December 1941, after first describing the Pearl Harbor attack). Therefore, this game will likely be used after the initial geopolitical lessons about the war have been taught, to give an instructional, immersive sense of what the homefront experience was like, but also to formatively assess some of what learners may also have been taught about the geopolitical aspects of the war (for instance, major battles, military and social events and political definitions).

Implementation Plan

Learners in a formal classroom setting should play this game, if possible, after learning basics about the geopolitical causes and actions occurring in World War II. It would make sense for this to be an enrichment activity for learners to engage in prior to a discussion class or other creative endeavor.

Learners in an informal setting may want to play this with a close family member or friend, after watching a brief instructional video that is age-appropriate and introduces major causes and events of the war.

Perceived Barriers & Support Needs

Animating a number of NPC figures and objects with this degree of verisimilitude would be challenging without a team to research, design and support the design, function and testing.

Support can be provided by museums and other curators of popular culture and social history, in order to make sure that the detail offered is not only rich, but accurate.

Experts can also provide jumping off points for learners to continue following areas that they are most interested in.

Since I am not primarily a teacher, but instead a learning designer, my lack of experience in K-12 settings would work against my implementing it in that setting. However, this game could be played and supported by parents or family members.

Reflection on the Assignment

I have worked primarily with adults, namely advanced health science learners and professors in higher education, and have worked on some basic simulations in the health science environment, as well as videos that can be reusable learning objects.  Because I am looking at history and learning games, I selected this kind of design, which was very challenging. I designed it from the perspective of the rooms and experiences first, and the story second, but then putting this into written form is very challenging, and I would probably consider looking seriously at gaming design software.

In order to do this kind of broad, content-rich, multiple level game justice, it would be best to have a team design and develop this together: for instance, a researcher, writer, teacher with experience with the target audience.  I think 3D game-based learning environments will be improved if modular items are more easily available to a layman/journeyman creator audience, including educators, similar to how Second Life now has very detailed models and items that are easy to source, create and “plant” in the space.

Some sort of rapid prototyping tool that would enable a scanned object to be replicated into a virtual reality environment would make this kind of game – and hundreds of similar simulations – easily designed, created and managed by content experts who understand history and learning, rather than gaming design.   

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