BUX, your moneygame


Underlying Theory of this Game

Backstories and background thinking can be interesting. So, let's briefly go in through the back door of game design. If it gets too boring, you can quit at any time. It has nothing to do with how the game is played.

As background, there may have been a time when real economic output was expected from a few. Right now, we appear to be in a flat spot. To continue economic growth and an increasing standard of living for ourselves, we must use our resources more efficiently. We must increase value by getting more from less. Many old ways are no longer relevant. We need more imagination, new thinking, new ideas, new occupations and new ways of doing things from all of us. We're beginning to experience this change in our lives. Collectively we must increase our bottom-up economic performances to save ourselves, our families and the world around us.

Stories, novels, movies, games and life share almost identical conceptual structures. All five categories share the following:

  • A protagonist, a hero (could be you) trying to get somewhere or do something.
  • That somewhere or something must be compelling. You must relate to it.
  • There must be an obvious motivating force driving the hero to achieve the goal.
  • There is some antagonist, some enemy or enemies resisting the hero's progress.
  • There are conflicts where the hero overcomes challenges posed by the enemy.
  • There is a strong, believable reason why the hero must accomplish the objective.
  • The objective must be achieved within an obvious timeframe.
  • There is a theme, a context, a greater environment in which all action takes place.
  • There is drama and suspense to stimulate and immerse an interested consumer.

There are probably more, but these elements are mixed and woven like an attractive fabric under the surface of the medium. This mixing and weaving is an art which gives the work its character and appeal. For the most part, stories, movies, games, life, can be mixed and matched in different proportions to present new and  interesting, if not stunning effects.

The game, BUX, attempts to blur the lines between fiction/non-fiction, games, stories and life using a minimum of resources, rules and technology. It deploys the already known and naturally understood rules of supply-demand economics, entertaining turn-taking and competitive interaction of games and the personal psychological needs of the player. In other words, if played as intended, players see their productive economic performance affecting their emotional states and the game's economy.

From a psychological viewpoint, each individual is a hero in his/her own story/life. As the structural similarities surface, players begin to see themselves in a simulated struggle for economic significance. They begin to see that their game performance has something to do with their real-life economic performance. This gets their attention and they try harder to do better for whatever reason they, not we, think important.

It is in this trying harder that players start to see patterns in concepts, behaviors and outcomes. This striving, planning and strategizing to cope with these newly discovered insights coincide not only with Gordon Allport's seventh stage of personality development, but with frontal lobe brain (necessary for executive functioning) stimulation and development. And continued play by diverse opponents only reinforces this development.

The look and presentation? Experience in the game business yielded one overriding law: young people are attracted to adult games but adults are not attracted to kids' games. Since interactive diversity is so critical to the effectiveness of this product, large, easily recognizable symbols were used. Like X's and O's in Tic-Tac-Toe and football play-diagramming, the symbols represent strategic thinking and actions.

So, now between competitive entertainment, peer pressure, self-discoveries, basic psychological needs and other insights into the use of resources, money and time, players have increased their motivating force to raise their personal performance levels. The pathway between here and there is now a lot clearer. And this change in attitude and experienced capability could do who knows what. 

This is some of the thinking that went into this game. And, of course, this complex theory is yet to be proven– or disproven.