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Family of Heroes
Posted On 6/4/2012
Family of Heroes is an interactive application (not quite a game) designed to provide information to family members of military personnel returning from deployment abroad. It was designed by Kognito Interactive, with funding from the Veterans Administration.
Initially, you're exposed to a long sequence of Flash animation with voiceover of a VA hospital therapist talking about the issues returning soldiers face, including mood swings, insomnia, behavior changes, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and providing advice on how to deal with these issues. Three fictional families are introduced, with somewhat different problems. The use of Flash animation rather than video is an interesting choice here; the only real reason for this is to ensure a consistent look with the interactive aspects of the product.
After this lecture, you view a conversation involving one family, which rapidly turns into an uncomfortable argument. You're then given some advice on how to manage conversations to avoid confrontation, and then "replay" the conversation, making choices (from a dialog tree) to try to achieve a happier outcome. A "tension bar" at screen top fills or reduces depending on your conversational choices, and a "win" involves getting through the conversation without direct conflict. You also have an "undo" button to jump back to before your last statement, something we don't have in real life, of course.
This seems like it might actually be useful in teaching conversational skills; it's not all that entertaining from a gameplay perspective, of course.
The other two conversations work in the same fashion, albeit the characters in them have somewhat different problems to address.
Family of Heroes is a 2012 Games for Change nominee in the "Most Significant Impact" category.