Summer of Haunts, Wrapping Up

Last week, Global Kids celebrated the addition of two new youth-created geolocative games to our NYC Haunts portfolio, capping off a busy summer.


At The Point Community Development Corporation, participants in the Summer Youth Employment Program created a moving, emotional game that honors the African-American and Native American slaves that were buried hundreds of years ago in what is now Drake Park. Youth were motivated to take action through the creation of a game for change, when they observed that white land and slave owners were recognized with well-manicured and marked plots in the park, while the remains of slaves were scattered throughout the park in unmarked graves. 


Sheila, second from left, helps three playtesters from The Point access the game on the TaleBlazer app to begin their journey. 


In the game, the player must learn and remember the stories of several slave-ghosts in order to reunite them with important objects. In doing so, the player recognizes these individuals' memories and roles in history:




In an alternate pathway, a player must guide a young escaping slave to a safehouse, following clues in the environment, as slaves would have done following the Underground Railroad in the past.




During the playtest, Samantha indicates to her fellow game designers where to find the next checkpoint on the route to the safehouse.


As they created the game, students made connections to the modern global issue of human trafficking. They analyzed the United Nations' definition of the term, and researched facts and details about how the issue manifests itself in different countries.


At the Brooklyn Museum, students ticked off the last tasks on the "burn-down" to-do list and unveiled "Helen's Treasures," a spooky tour of the visible storage exhibit that requires players to choose objects from the gallery based on close observation in order to reunite the ghost of a teen girl with her cherished objects and learn the story behind her death.


Olivier, presenting the flowchart and prototyping part of the design process on the last day of the program.


Rita and Rig watch a museum educator playtest Helen's Treasures. Some feedback relayed to the youth game designers included keeping in mind how audiences of younger kids might experience the game differently.


Massimo observes the museum educators as they search for Helen's missing spoon, following a clue about a wavy pattern on the spoon's "scoop."


Global Kids is excited about the curricular innovations we were able to develop during these partnerships during the "Summer of Haunts," and can't wait to implement what we've learned at our schools in the Fall.


Special thanks to the Hive Learning Network, the Brooklyn Museum, the Point CDC, and the New York Community Trust for their support of this project.