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U of B IT geeks put state's budget in citizens' hands with new online videogame

Undergraduates in the University of Baltimore's Simulation and Digital Entertainment programhave come up with a novel way to help state legislators and the governor balance the budget -- educating the public.

The students have designed a Web-based videogame that will help ordinary citizens learn how Maryland's budget works�including the all-important and legally-required task of balancing it�as part of a public education effort by the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute.

The "Maryland Budget Game" was unveiled by the institute on Monday, Jan. 18 and is be available online and at no cost to the user.

According to the institute, "Maryland Budget Game" players assume the role of the governor in making decisions to balance the state budget. Players travel to different locations to view budget options related to different policy areas: the schoolhouse for education, a clinic for health and so on. Based on the player's decisions, the state's near-term and long-term budget status improves or deteriorates. At the same time, 10 different simulated interest groups react to the players' every decision.

"Our students developed this project with the classic learning-game goal in mind: to provide an experience that replicates much of what goes in the real world, and do it so that it stays with the player in tangible ways," said Stuart Moulthrop, professor and director of the Simulation and Digital Entertainment program in UB's School of Information Arts and Technologies.

Source: University of Baltimore, School of Information Arts and Technologies
Writer: Walaika Haskins

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