Scots firm teams up with bank for game to teach kids about finances

It is a colourful 3D world which seeks to prepare youngsters for the game of life.

The game tasks players with cleaning up a colourful series of islands, while managing their income.
The game tasks players with cleaning up a colourful series of islands, while managing their income.

A Dundee video game developer has teamed up with a major bank to create a new title designed to teach children about money management.

The game, set on an imaginary archipelago, allows youngsters to use virtual bank accounts, and even learn about loans, taxation, and foreign exchange.

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The title, Island Saver, is the brainchild of Natwest, which describes the venture as a “natural progression” of the MoneySense initiative launched more than 25 years ago by RBS to help children learn about finances.

The job of turning the idea into a reality - or at least, a virtual reality - fell to Stormcloud Games, a BAFTA Scotland winning game development firm based in Dundee.

While its previous work includes development on mature releases such as Crackdown 3, Stormcloud’s latest game is firmly aimed at six to 12-year-olds and shuns violence in favour of a colourful first person sandbox experience.

Set in locations including a jungle, a beach, and a desert, the game provides players with a vacuum cleaner-style device to rid the islands of litter. The characters are paid for their work, and able to save up their money as they go along.

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Activity sheets are also available for parents so that they can discuss the issues raised in the game with their children.

The title, available on popular consoles such as Xbox One and Playstation 4, is free to download and play, with no in-game purchases. Expansion packs offering additional content are available for £4 apiece, but all proceeds from the sales will go to charity.

Thom Kenrick, head of social strategy and programmes at NatWest, said: “Helping young people better understand money began with the launch of our MoneySense programme in schools more than 25 years ago.

“Island Saver is a natural progression of this, especially at a time when parents are looking for free, at-home educational resources,and kids are looking for entertainment.”

He added: “Our own research found that the majority of parents said that lack of interest was a challenge when it comes to teaching children about money. Island Saver is the perfect solution - an open world, production quality game that is as fun and entertaining, as it is educational.”

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