Feds spend $649,682 on computer game starring a ‘novice world leader’

The National Science Foundation is spending nearly $650,000 on a computer game for adults where they can pretend to be a “novice world leader.”

The company that received taxpayer funding to build a zombie math game for kids is now creating a game similar to an online version of Risk that teaches users leadership skills.

“The program uses a futuristic narrative, 3D-animated multimedia, and challenging leadership dilemmas to engage learners, who play the role of a novice world leader,” according to the grant for the project. “The program provides instruction in leadership, and then learners apply their new leadership skills to build an alliance among warring factions and collectively solve a global problem.”

“A series of game quests test learners’ understanding, and they receive immediate feedback on all decisions and actions,” the grant continued. “Learners communicate through social media tools with other players and, at the end, participate in a virtual synchronous debriefing exercise with peers and trained facilitators to ensure full comprehension. An administrative dashboard provides real-time performance data. The game is scalable, accessible, and designed for repeat playability.”

The purpose of the game is to “improve the leadership skills of individuals in science, education, the military, government, and industry.” The makers will test the game on high school students and corporate leaders.

“Leadership skills are key to innovation, efficiency, and effectiveness in all organizations,” the grant said. “The program being developed is built on a proven leadership model and converts that traditional model into a role-playing game.”

Triad Interactive Media received $649,682 for the project, which began in September.

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