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Abstract

Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D) is working to develop and test video games attractive to low-income and minority adults that will provide training in critical financial skills to improve financial decision-making. During the last year, D2D has conceived, developed and delivered the third and fourth titles in its growing library of financial literacy casual video games: Farm Blitz and Bite Club. In Farm Blitz, players take on the role of a farmer who must harvest crops to generate earnings, manage debt, save money, and weather unexpected emergencies. Farm Blitz is designed to focus players' attention on how high-interest, short term debt can undermine efforts to build long term savings. Bite Club, which is inspired by one of the most popular casual games of all time, Diner Dash, offers players a simulated game experience in which they face the real-world tension between managing debt payments and current spending needs on the one hand, and saving for the long-term goal of retirement on the other. Players manage a "day club" for vampires and must pay off student and credit card debt, buy club upgrades, and save for retirement one of three retirement outcomes. Like D2D's other financial entertainment titles, Farm Blitz and Bite Club were made with and for low-income adults and evaluation is integrated into the development process. Following development, D2D completed preliminary effectiveness testing with 84 low-income adults across six locations in the US. While only small samples, each game generated a significant increase in financial skills self-confidence and knowledge.

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The research described in this report was prepared for the Social Security Administration and conducted by the Financial Literacy Center.

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