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Free game for kids addresses bullying

December 27, 2012

BOURBON — Charlie Jackson of Bourbon has created a computer game to help kids learn the consequences of bullying.
Jackson, owner of Cataclysmic Games, said that he’s been making games “on and off” for about seven years. The decision to make a game for kids happened when his artist created a character that he described as “silly and cute.”
That character eventually became “Rubberkid,” a colorful gumdrop-shaped person dedicated to protecting other kids from insults hurled at them by bullies.
“The kids can take on the persona of Rubberkid,” said Jackson. “Basically, they run around the screen while bullies throw insults and you try to bump the insults away from the other kids.”
Jackson feels strongly that playing the game might help kids to see how they can prevent bullying for themselves or for other kids.
“It seems like (bullying) is a really big topic, and I hadn’t seen any games about it,” said Jackson. “At the end of each level of the game, the player sees information about the kids they helped. It shows what would have happened if they didn’t help, and what will happen now that they did help.”
Jackson said the game isn’t just for kids considered to be bullies. It’s for any kid ages 7 to 12.
“It’s a really simplistic game,” added Jackson.
The game “Adventures of Rubberkid” is still under construction by Jackson, but it’s playable from his website, www.thecritterverse.com.
“I would pretty much like to get people’s input,” said Jackson. “If they don’t like a part of the game I can still change it. I’m definitely up for suggestions.”
Visitors to the website can send Jackson an email using the contact form.
Jackson started his website, The Critterverse, with the help of Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects. He is trying to raise $750 before Dec. 30 in order to start distributing Adventures of Rubberkid to local schools and libraries.
“I do want to start (distributing) here locally, because I don’t have to ship anything — I can go talk to them in person,” said Jackson.
His eventual goal is to have kids all over the country playing Adventures of Rubberkid and his other games. Jackson also hopes to eventually translate the game to Spanish, and make both teen and adult versions of it. A children’s book could also be on the horizon.
To find out more about Jackson and his games, or to play Adventures of Rubberkid, visit www.thecritterverse.com

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