And here is my journey to finalizing it..
To start with, based on feedback, the first draft of the game seemed to be a bit confusing as to why the player is being a bully, without having the option of doing something that is not so bad. So I decided to change the introduction of the game instead of saying “you are a bully” to changing and adding a few scenarios where the player had the option to either be a bully from the beginning or be a good person and in turn get bullied for being so. The game now shows the pressures put on some kids that push them to become bullies. This is not the one reason people become bullies, but merely one of the many reasons that push people onto that path. I have also added some more details to make the game more engaging, some statistics and information about bullying to make it more informative, and some more visuals. Most people, thankfully, gave me good feedback on the game so I decided to just keep those minor improvements and add no more to it.
The game wants to create a path they’d walk down to where they reflect on their actions and behaviors and eventually become a better person. I faced the difficulty of making the game realistic and flowing smoothly at the same time. The bully wouldn’t change overnight, so i had to come up with situations that realistically, and gradually, allowed the player to change their perspective. In the first game draft, the mother’s punishment was the huge turning point in which the player would become less of a bully. In the later version, I made this incident merely a trigger for the bully to start reflecting on their actions and their consequences by being put in the shoes of the bullied (being stranded alone at home).
Beside adding details from my own personal experiences with bullying, I did my research on the topic. I looked up some statistics, the influence of bullying on others, and several ways to attempt to stop the bully’s behavior. Based on an article by the National Bullying Prevention Center, more than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied (Hawkins, Pepler, & Craig, 2001). This is one of the most important and enlightening things I learned as I was creating this game. From that I created the scenario where the player had the option to defend the bully. That’s why the game starts with offering both good and bad options, and as the game develops, the player becomes a bully, and then gradually faces more options for self-reflection, for not participating, and eventually for standing up against other bullies on behalf of someone being bullied.
Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to perfect my game. If I had more time I would’ve had two different story lines where the player could choose from. One would be playing as the bullied, and the other as the bully. I would then make the player walk down the agonizing path of a bullied person where they get to understand the necessity of stopping such behavior. I would’ve made the latter storyline more engaging by adding personal scenarios that actually led the player to become a bully, such as domestic violence or sibling abuse. So to raise sympathy for the bully, and then maybe add scenarios where players are faced with different decisions on how to deal with other bullies when they stop being ones themselves. Basically, I would’ve branched out the game to include different perspectives, and forms of bullying (such as cyberbullying).
Here are some of the articles I read that helped out with the creation of the game:
“Halting School Bullying” by Rasha Gadda, Al Ahram Weekly http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/26368.aspx
“Bullying Statistics” by Lori Soard
“How Peer Pressure Leads to Bullying” by Sherri Gordon
“Bullying Statistics” by Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center https://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/stats.asp
Hope you enjoyed the game! Waiting on your feedback. 🙂