The globally acclaimed simulation game, RealLives – originally unveiled in the United States in 2004 and subsequently developed in Pune after 2012 – is now being introduced in India.
RealLives essentially aims to develop empathy in players – empathy for other cultures, societies, as well as one’s own, thus helping them learn to appreciate the nuances of harmonious living in an interdependent and connected world. Interestingly, the game that deploys cutting edge technology to promote vital human values and contemporary global skills taps into Pune’s rich history of educational innovation.
RealLives is being released in India in a cloud version by Neeti Solutions. It can be especially useful for the millennials who are coming in touch with people from different nations and disparate cultures on an unprecedented scale. Says Dr. Parag Mankeekar of Neeti Solutions, “The RealLives simulation brings in an awareness of global cultures and conditions, and helps this generation realize how, beneath their cultural differences, people are essentially the same.”
This interactive game simulates real life events. The player is offered virtual lives in any of the 193 countries. By playing the game as a person in a particular country with all its challenges based on real-world statistical data, the player learns about the actual life lived by a citizen there. This learning happens through reasoning, critical thinking, problem solving and compromise – essential features of the game.
RealLives invests the player with a sense of personal responsibility. In the multi-disciplinary learning environment that the game offers, the player is motivated to know the unknown world, and to start thinking and feeling about it. In a world where, as a former American president remarked, empathy deficit is more of a worry than Federal deficit, RealLives, through empathy, creates a strong motivation to address global human problems. This is a fundamentally different approach compared to today’s over-emphasis on technology, science and engineering, which fall short in attending to the human aspects of social and human learning. This refreshing difference forms the core of the empathy-to-action model promoted by the RealLives Platform.

Sim-plicity: I am a human being By Christopher Livingston

I don’t really have a conclusion. I feel like I did poorly — I didn’t amass riches, conquer a profession, or live happily ever after -but the game isn’t saying I did poorly. It’s not saying anything. There are no points, there’s no score, no achievements or badges. But I can’t help feeling that, as a human being, I failed.

Maybe not. Dev never got an education, sure, but she never stopped reading and learning. She never made a fortune, but she always gave what she could to others. She died of breast cancer at age sixty, but at least she didn’t die of measles at age three. Maybe it’s not a failure, maybe not a success. It’s just a single human life, one life among billions.

More than 1 million users across the world are currently using the offline version of the game and its users include mainly educational institutions and games – an eloquent testimony to its engaging pedagogy. From teaching young children to appreciate human diversity, to helping executives to navigate the challenges of a multi-cultural world – the game is a handy tool in today’s strife-torn world.
RealLives has now moved from creation of simulated experience, to instilling the urgency of action – aligned with the United Nations Programme on Sustainable Development dealing with 17 Sustainable Development Goals. For example, climate change is a collective challenge that can and should unite people across national borders, race or culture, and this game is helping in its own modest way to create the right awareness among students and gamers.
RealLives will soon be released in multiple languages, including major Indian languages – thus enabling Indians to get an almost first-hand feel of what it takes to live in another culture and nation. This transnational cultural literacy is a vital need for Indians who are increasingly coming in touch with cultures that they are unfamiliar with.

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