“Berry and Pear” is a two player game aimed at developing the social resilience of children during and post pandemic times. The game is based on an inclusive design for public use, on a neighborhood level. One can play the game with hand gestures and there are no extras needed. The game itself is two screens situated on a public square. This concept was designed to enhance relationship building and allow for safe social interaction in our 1,5m society.
Due to the rise of Covid-19, all over the world, public spaces have been adjusted to the requirements of social distancing. Often these are primarily designed as prevention measures. They are aimed at seducing/forcing citizens to keep enough distance so that the virus cannot spread. Our client Civic Interaction Design wanted us to look at these measurements from a different approach, such interventions also have a - so far unexplored - potential to have an impact beyond mere prevention and strengthen social resilience at the neighborhood level. We investigated the space and saw that low-income families have been strongly impacted by them pandemic. The biggest problem was that they did not have enough time for their children, who would often be left alone. This has a negative impact on their social development.
“Bear and Pear” were designed based on a social and emotional learning framework (SEL). We discovered that the most important skill in order to build resilience is relationship skills. Our concept is a two player game aimed at developing collaboration, seeking & offering help and problem solving which are all part of building a relationship. The game is designed for children. We utilized machine learning and visual recognition in order to create motion controls, thus creating a highly accessible game. The game in itself is very simple and its purpose is to work together to defeat “Octo” the evil boss who wants to create social detachment.
We managed to validate our assumption that the game will teach seeking and offering help, however, we witnessed that the collaboration was happening but not as expected. For further development more collaboration can be achieved by making the players more dependent on each other. For example, changing the attacks so they are stronger together or only work when done together.
The prototype was well received by the audience. There was a lot of fun observed while users were playing and we received feedback that it was a good workout as well. Thus we believe the concept has potential for success. To reach our goals it would require at least one more iteration for which we shared in a development plan with our client. This project is part of a 2 year, research by our client Civic Interaction Design. We have also observed other cities like Warsaw implementing similar concepts in some neighborhoods.