In a unique collaboration, aChord Center joined the Insight Sparks Company, headed by Idan Heil, to develop a unique digital game to reduce racism among children and youth. Together, we developed Journey to the Land of Fire, an adventure game designed to give children aged 9 to 12 psychological skills to reduce prejudice and develop tolerance, empathy, and acceptance of the other. The main objective of the game's joint development was to implement research-based psychological interventions in a fun game, in order to promote positive intergroup perceptions among diverse students from different groups.
At the center of the game are two mutually hostile tribes, the forest people and the mountain people. When a dark power threatens to take over the world, the players embark on a worldwide journey to find the magic stone that can save them all. At the beginning, the game rewards players for behavior that sustains hostility between the tribes. As they advance in the game, the rules change, and players are rewarded for creative and dynamic thinking that breaks the separation between them and encourages cooperation to overcome the challenges and obstacles on the way to the magic stone. Alongside the game, we developed lesson plans for the students that accompany the game experience. So far, we have conducted two pilot studies that examined the effectiveness of the game among some 100 fourth graders in Ramle and Haifa, and found that it led to a significant reduction of stereotypes towards various minorities in Israeli society.