Mario Kart: Andrew Bell, professor at Boston University College of Arts & Sciences (USA), defends, in an article published on the last 5th, that Mario Kart is much more than a simple racing game and that the characteristics that make it so addictive and fun serve as a guide to creating fairer social and economic programs, teaching tactics for reducing world poverty and improving sustainability.
According to the expert on economic principles, even when games are going badly, the title has been built in such a way that it does everything to keep players in contests. “It’s been cool since I was a child and it’s cool for my kids, in part, because anyone can enjoy it,” says the researcher.
To support his argument, Bell explains that during trips to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Malawi and other countries in southern Africa, he came across a story common to families he met, the fact that a large part of those and of those who work as ranchers and ranchers perform their tasks because they inherited assets related to the area, the only ones – which prevented dedication to other sectors.
Based on these findings, Andrew indicates that policies that provide assistance to this audience are able to change this scenario. As an example, draw a parallel with the mechanics of Mario Kart, in which faster players and those in front do not have the same impulses as others. That is, weaker powers are reserved for those in the lead.
Such an incentive principle, he points out, meets the economic elasticity, which keeps the game interesting, since there is always a chance for progression. “This is exactly what we want to do in relation to development,” he says. “And it is very, very difficult.”
The biggest obstacle to implementing similar initiatives in the real world, Bell believes, is figuring out how to direct assistance to people who are proven to be in need, as until recently they were “off the track.”
Government programs that involve third parties – such as the granting of resources by hydroelectric companies to farmers who adopt sustainable practices – have even worked in very specific contexts, no more than that, it exemplifies. Also, finding companies willing to contribute to projects of this type is a challenge, as well as connecting them to those in need.
On the other hand, he points out, when something goes right, the good news about elasticity is that the degree of participation is exponential, a concept that Bell called “crowding in” in his analysis – a factor driven by the growing adoption of cell phones, that help governments and organizations to identify individuals in search of more prosperous means of subsistence beyond the practice of agriculture and in contact with those who have opportunities.
Finally, according to the professor, further expanding access to mobile devices in poor regions of the world would also allow the gap between the richest and poorest families to be calculated and help to measure the success of newly implemented policies and programs.
“The elastic character of Mario Kart is to bring those who are behind the items that best help them to narrow their differences – their own ‘golden mushrooms'”, which should be considered since the beginning of program development by researchers and decision makers finishes Bell.