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PlayForward: Elm City Stories

PlayForward: Elm City Stories

by KnackTime Interactive

GRADES / Middle School (Grades 5-8)

Roleplaying risk-reduction game



PlayForward is a risk-reduction role playing game designed for middle school students.  The tool is available as a native iPad app.


Schell Games, partnered with Yale University, created a role-playing iPad app called PlayForward, designed as a public health intervention to prevent HIV infection among ethnic minority adolescents. Within this interactive world, players face decision-making challenges and a series of life-altering choices that will impact their character’s life. The goal of the players it to reduce their risk for HIV as they learn proven HIV prevention strategies which they could apply in real-world situations.


Research shows that youth and adolescents who learn new knowledge, skills and attitudes in a videogame and practice these skills in the game, are more likely to behave similarly in real life. PlayForward models real-life situations and challenges in which players have the ability to see how their choices and behaviors can lead to different outcomes with the overall goal to decrease HIV risk.

In the game, players user an avatar to participate in multiple role-playing activities and mini-games. Through this overarching storyline, players encounter daily social problems and as they move through the game, make decisions about unprotected sex, drugs, and alcohol abuse. Researchers designed the game to give players the opportunity to negotiate challenges in a highly-repetitive and meaningful way with the intent to translate these skills into real-life situations.

The game tracks whether players are making right choices and provides them with new insights into how their decisions affect their outcomes. Players can also go back and choose a different decision to see how it would affect their avatar differently.  


Elm City Stories is available as a native iPad app.


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5th Grade Teacher full starfull starfull starfull starfull star
School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

Add as many nationalities and scenarios as possible. We have multiple nationalities at our school. The mo...

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