Becker, MassDiGI Collaboration Makes Game to Start National Conversation

Published on Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Becker College and MassDiGI have collaborated with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) to build the free, fast-moving, and fun social impact game, Lotto Boxes, to address income inequality, what President Barack Obama has called “the defining challenge of our time.”

The mobile game’s development team which also includes Worcester-based startup Petricore Games, led by Becker alumnus Ryan Canuel, and Becker senior Rejon Taylor-Foster, publicly launched the open beta version of Lotto Boxes at the SVCF Innovation Conference in San Francisco, Calif., last month.

“Working on Lotto Boxes with Becker, MassDiGI and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation was a great opportunity for us,” said Canuel. “The high level of communication and collaboration that went into the effort was the key to finding the right way to balance the social impact message with gameplay.”

“As a soon-to-be graduate, being part of the Lotto Boxes development team gave me a chance to learn by doing,” said Taylor-Foster. “I hope to use the experience next year after school as I grow Maximum Crash, my own start-up studio.”

Through a generous grant, Mountain View, Calif.-based SVCF has underwritten this experimental effort in partnership with MassDiGI and Becker; an effort which began in this past spring.

“As has become increasingly apparent, there is a widening income and equality gap between the richest and poorest Americans,” said SVCF CEO and President Emmett Carson, Ph.D. “We hope this game can become an important tool in educating and creating empathy among young people that will help change this situation.”

In seeking a partner for this effort, SVCF identified MassDiGI and Becker College because of their unique experience, vision, and ability to bring together students, faculty and professionals, Carson said.

Lotto Boxes is designed to be played by young people and then placed into context by teachers or parents through a discussion of the issues.  To that extent, the development team plans to work with educators, community-based organizations, and non-profits to create a course-pack of related learning materials to go along with the game.

“We are excited about the opportunity this game provides in terms of bringing these serious issues to the fore,” said Becker President Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D. “With income inequality being such an important conversation in both Silicon Valley and the greater Boston area, we expect our work with SVCF to advance this conversation nationally, and will have an impact on our respective communities.”

“Our goal was to not only build a fun game, but to build a fun game that carries with it an important conversation,” said MassDiGI Managing Director Monty Sharma. “We feel Lotto Boxes does that. Our development team is looking forward to learning more from player feedback with an eye towards what’s next.”

Lotto Boxes, which is available now in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, lets players tap the screen to open boxes, sort them and collect Golden Tickets. Hidden amid the action is a secret. Can you discover what it is?