Quandary: A video game that helps kids develop ethical thinking skills

By | October 30, 2014 | Gear & Gadgets

Quandary: A video game that helps kids develop ethical thinking skills_© TheMomiverse



One of the toughest jobs of parents is to teach children how to develop ethical thinking skills, like reasoning and understanding ethical problems. When making important decisions in life, we all need to evaluate opinions and facts and implement solutions.

Talking through everyday life issues is one way to give your children examples and practice, but many experts have revealed how children (and even adults) learn many life skills through the experience of playing.

Video games are often criticized for whether their content can change the behavior and attitudes of a player. Quandary is one video game in which parents will hope this outcome is true.

About the game

Quandary is a FREE online digital game for kids ages 8 and older. It provides learning experiences structured to develop ethical thinking, consideration of different perspectives, and critical decision making skills.

When playing Quandary, players are tasked with shaping the future of a new society on the undeveloped planet Braxos. Players must lead a new colony and learn to:

  • Recognize ethical issues
  • Deal with challenging situations
  • Thoughtfully consider different perspectives from others including beliefs, preferences, attitudes, conditions
  • Coordinate concepts or statements in complex ways
  • Receive input and feedback from characters in the game
  • Make difficult decisions in which there are no clear right or wrong answers, but important consequences to themselves and others

The Quandary game begins by outlining a problem for the player in the form of a graphic novel. Players can choose to read the graphic novel on the screen and/or listen to the narrative. Reading or listening options are useful for visual and/or auditory learners. The game consists of three different episodes: Lost Sheep, Water Wars, and Fashion Faction.

Quandary images_Problem

Players are then required to thoughtfully consider different perspectives from others including beliefs, preferences, attitudes, conditions.

Quandary images_Sorting

After the player receives input and feedback from characters in the game, he must choose a solution to present to the Colonial Council and review outcomes based on the solution that was selected.

Quandary: Choose a solution

The game takes about 10-30 minutes to play. My 10 and 8 year old sons played Quandary in about 30 – 45 minutes – depending on how much thought they put into sorting during each particular episode. Each of them played the game multiple times so they could see the outcomes of different solutions. My 10 year old Brady had this to say about Quandary:

Quandary is a fun game that challenges your brain. You have to sort out opinions, facts and solutions. Sorting was hard, because sometimes opinions seemed like facts or solutions. What I liked best was seeing how the solutions I picked affected the colony.

The next time your kids ask you to play a video game, tell them they can play Quandary. My kids and I found it to be a fun, although challenging, learning experience that helps with the development of a reflective attitude and how our choices impact behavior in ourselves and others.

For more information, visit QuandaryGame.org, or give them a shout out on Facebook or Twitter.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of The Mission List and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Charmin Calamaris

Charmin is a wife, mom of two boys and creator of the Momiverse. The Momiverse is an online magazine for busy moms (is there any other kind?) dedicated to helping moms make time – and take time – for themselves. She traded in her career in land use planning and environmental policy to become Chief Executive Navigator of the Momiverse. You can connect with Charmin in her "online office" on Twitter or Facebook.

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