New Web Game Sheds Light on Economic Growth
Tom Lavelle, 617 973-3647, Thomas.L.Lavelle@bos.frb.org or
Joel Werkema, 617 973-3510, Joel.Werkema@bos.frb.org
BOSTON, May 27, 2009 - What's the economy? What's economic growth? How does growth occur? These ideas, not always easy to grasp, are explored in "Pursuit! on the trail of economic growth," a new animated game on the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's web site. "Pursuit!" joins "Peanuts , Crackerjacks" and "Show Business" to give the Bank a trio of online economic education games.
At the heart of "Pursuit!" is a timeline of New England's economic history. Players embark on "trails" to explore three different time periods in "pursuit" of understanding how growth occurs. Before setting off, they pick one of six animated characters as their guide - a teacher, inventor, scientist, banker, entrepreneur, or Uncle Sam - each embodying a major factor of growth. Along the way, the guides entertain, educate, and motivate.
The Boston Fed has been a leader in the Federal Reserve System in web-based economic-education games. The three games now available focus on a range of issues:
1. The classic "Peanuts , Crackerjacks," launched in 2001, explores the market for professional team sports - how leagues gained market power, why tickets cost so much, why athletes earn as much as they do, why there is so much economic conflict in pro team sports.
2. "Show Business," launched in 2007, has two units: (1) "Climbing the Charts" uses the music industry to illustrate how markets develop, the role of technology in shaping markets, intellectual property rights, and copyrighting concerns. (2) "Another Action Hero" delves into the film industry to illustrate aspects of international trade and globalization, including protectionism, trade benefits, currency markets, and government's role in the global economy.
3. With its focus on the basics of economic growth, "Pursuit!" offers a good first step to understanding the economy's intricate workings. It helps players build a base of knowledge useful in making wise personal decisions.
"Peanuts , Crackerjacks," "Show Business," and "Pursuit!" can be played equally well in the classroom or by players on their own. The target audience is middle and high school students, but adults can also play, learn, and enjoy.
All games were developed by the Boston Fed's Economic Education Unit, a division of the Public and Community Affairs Department. Game content for "Pursuit!" was written by Suzanne Cummings and Ann Eggleston. Bank staff recorded the character voiceovers for "Pursuit!"
"Pursuit!" is found on an educational web site maintained by the Boston Fed, www.economicadventure.org. The site uses New England's rich economic history to explain how economic growth occurs and living standards rise. In addition to "Pursuit!," the site's learning tools include a "gazette" that traces New England's economic history; profiles of three entrepreneurs and their decision-making; descriptions of improvements in living standards over the years; a glossary of terms and definitions; and an explanation of the time value of money.
Links to all games, as well as other learning activities, can be found at