Analysis of videogames can give answers to many questions about the game’s goal, effectiveness, and suitability to the target audience. In this rhetorical analysis we will analyze “Racing Squirrels” videogame. “Racing Squirrels” introduces to the affinity group some understanding of financial terms and concepts through racing among squirrels and application of steps to win a race.
In the beginning the game offers to buy a house where squirrels will live. After that the gamer should buy a squirrel so it could race and earn money. If the squirrel wins and gets money, a kid can afford to buy racing equipment so the squirrel could win the next race. The equipment could be bought for cash or credit card. The player must earn money to pay the bills. All these procedures could be done by thorough understanding and application of semiotic domain of the game.
Before the start, the videogame provides comprehensive instructions what rules are and what the player should do. The game applies multimodal text which includes text, pictures, graphs, symbols, music, and manipulation by cartoons to make the content more interesting, memorable, and interactive. Simple and short sentences are used to make the context understandable for the affinity group. Loud and energetic music is supposed to evoke positive mood of the gamer. In addition to the text and music, “Racing Squirrels” videogame includes colorful graphics and nice designed cartoons of squirrels. The game is mainly colored in green, yellow, and brown colors to imitate the environment in which squirrels usually live. Colors and design are adapted to the target audience.
The targeted audience of the game might be kids. The game includes reading, but small kids usually cannot read. Therefore, the game’s audience could be children at 7-15 years old. Children might not understand this game difficult well enough because it includes financial terminology such as “cash”, “bank”, “credit card”, “savings account”, “current account”, and “salary”. To explain why the author uses financial terminology and visual support, it is necessary to define a goal which the game maker wants to achieve.
The author’s goal is to raise financial literacy among children. It means that the videogame aims to teach children what money is, its value, how to manage them through understanding of financial terminology and the nature of financial flows. Moreover, the game teaches that wise use of money requires some knowledge and rationalism. However, to understand all these terms and concepts, children should understand what “credit”, “current account”, “team discount”, or “savings account” mean. If kids don’t know and the videogame doesn’t provide a glossary, they might not fully understand possible and more effective financial steps to win the game. Of course, the game offers additional tools to increase chances of a squirrel to win such as “Jet Pack”, “Grapple”, “Acorn Grenade”, or “Shield”. However, to win the game it is not enough because the gamer should buy these tools and use wisely savings account, team discount, and other financial opportunities. Despite internal design grammar of the game allows to follow and use all available tools to win this videogame, external grammar design shows that the application of financial tools without glossary and explanation may be ineffective way to teach children to financial literacy.
The game “Racing Squirrels” might be created to solve the problem of kids’ financial illiteracy and, as a result, not rational and inappropriate use of money. However, the game “Racing Squirrels” is not effective videogame which should be modified to make financial terms and concepts more understandable. When this game is organized well, it might be more effective to raise financial literacy among children.