RealLives has been used multiple times object in research studies ….
RealLives:Promoting Global Empathy and Interest in Learning Through Simulation Games
by Christine M. Bachen, Pedro F. Hernández-Ramos and Chad Raphael
published in Sage Journals, October 2012
In response to an increasingly interdependent world, educators are demonstrating a growing interest in educating for global citizenship. Many definitions of the “good global citizen” value empathy as an especially important disposition for understanding others across national borders and cultural divides. Yet it may be difficult for people to achieve empathy with others who are perceived as psychologically and geographically distant. Can computerized simulation games help foster global empathy and interest in global civic learning? This quasiexperimental classroom study of 301 Northern California high school students in three schools examined the effects of playing REAL LIVES, a simulation game that allows players to inhabit the lives of individuals around the world. Compared with a control group, students who played the simulation game as part of their curriculum expressed more global empathy and greater interest in learning about other countries. Identification with REAL LIVES characters was also positively related to global empathy. These findings support claims that computerized simulations can cultivate important dispositions for global learning and citizenship.
The full article is here.
Using Video Games to Think About Distributive Justice
by Dr. Marcus Schulzke, State University of New York in Albany,
published in The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy,
November 12, 2012
“RealLives breaks with the usual video game format of giving players control of a powerful leading character. In doing so it gives players the opportunity to relate to a much different kind of character, one who does not have control of his or her starting position in life and who must struggle against events that cannot be controlled. This approach challenges players to consider the extent to which actions in the game are the result of the constraints placed on their character and the extent to which they reflect deserved personal achievement. The simulation does not take a position on this, nor does it attempt to offer lessons about distributive justice. However, by introducing players to this problem, Real Lives encourages them to consider distributive justice and to arrive at their own conclusions about it.”
The full article is here.