When people talk about preparing for college as a “game,” it usually comes with a cynical tone (“Applying for college is just a game with admissions counselors where you have to know the rules”). One company, though, has taken the idea of college planning as a game literally, creating a series of games that educates students on what to expect from the college application process, while encouraging them to plan and prepare for the next step in their education.
Game designer FutureBound Games offers four different games where college preparation takes center stage, spanning cards, computers, mobile devices and even Facebook. At the core of each game, students learn about not only what it takes to become a well-rounded student that colleges want, but also how to prepare financially.
In the card game “Application Crunch,” students must manage cards for academics, extracurricular activities, work and service, all while applying for schools and scholarships. The Facebook game “Mission: Application” takes the time-management of games like “Farmville” and places the player in the world of a high school student who must build skills in different areas (academics, service, athletics and more) to create essays and applications before deadlines for contests, scholarships and school admissions pass on a real-time calendar.
Desktop/Mobile game “Graduate Strike Force” takes an action approach to educating students about financial aid and college fit by creating a team of elite fighters who battle invading monsters after finding the right school and financial aid packages that match their needs. The company’s namesake game, the desktop/mobile “FutureBound,” expands the timeline taking players from transitioning from middle school to high school all the way through graduation. The game encourages the player to develop their characters interests and prepare for college not only academically, but emotionally, as the character will have to overcome insecurities and doubts about their choices to succeed.
While the graphics will never be confused with an XBox One or Playstation 4, FutureBound’s games give students who would otherwise spend their time crushing candy or cultivating virtual celebrities games that are both fun and beneficial in the long run.