UNICEF, in partnership with Electronic Arts, created the Open Game Development Contest to encourage university students to create fun and innovative games, focused on a football theme, to support literacy initiatives for children between the age of 6 and 8 years old. The Cooruja team, A team composed of students from the game design program at Universidade Anhembi Morumbi, Cooruja, won with their game, "Football of Letters."
A jury of experts selected five games for the finals of the competition and children from a Castelo primary school judged the finals. Student Brenda Carnevalli, one of the members of the winning team, said a little girl learned to spell in just five days using the game. "I am proud to know that our game has changed and will change the lives of thousands of children. This child shows that we can achieve the goal that got us to enter the contest: making a difference," Carnevalli said.
In addition to Carnevalli, students Danilo Enju Sato, Gustavo Gonçalves, Luan Henrique da Silva, Rodrigo Manso Bueno, Stefan Botelho and Vinicius Simão de Souza developed the game with the guidance and support of Professor Adriana Kei.
"Football of Letters" uses the animals of Brazil's semiarid region to help children learn to spell. Players start as a macau, the main character of the game, who is accompanied by the sapo-cururu, a three-banded armadillo and a white-winged bird. To start, players need to collect the jujube berries in order to earn the points needed to pass thru the first stage. From there, the child needs to read the word that appears on the screen and click on the matching picture.
As the game proceeds, it emphasizes to the players that studying and hard work opens new options and possibilities. The first phase takes place in an open area, with a wooden bar; the second, in a small field and the third, in the Maracanã stadium. Animations, sounds and cut-scenes were selected to keep the game fun and enjoyable.
This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.