mtvU Video Game Teaches Students About Debt -- With A Jet-Skiing Pig

'Debt Ski' shows the risks of overspending and the values of saving.

Maybe the way to make people understand the dangers of being in debt involves a pig on a jet ski. See for yourself!

mtvU and the Peterson Foundation launched "Debt Ski," a video game anyone can play in their computer browser that shows the risks of overspending and the value of saving — plus the merits of a piggy bank on a jet ski nailing his jumps.

The game was created to raise awareness of the mounting problem of personal and government debt. mtvU is putting a spotlight on the not-altogether-sexy issue because of how severe it can be. The Peterson Foundation, which is backing the game with mtvU, reports that the average student is $20,000 in debt after graduation. The average family in the U.S., the group states, has $8,700 in credit-card debt.

"Debt Ski" was conceived by Brian Haveri, a 25-year-old graduate of Lehigh University. Players control the pig on the jet ski, racing to the right of their screen, "Super Mario Bros."-style. Any coins they collect are savings, but the computers, coffee cups and other lifestyle items that drop from the sky are expenses. Running into those can rack up credit-card debt. Finishing a level in debt prompts the player to pay off some of that debt with savings. No savings left? That leads to a game over.

"College students and recent graduates don't need more grim news about their futures, but they do need to be informed of the challenges they face," Dave Walker, president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, said in a statement. " 'Debt Ski' will entertain them while taking them through the trade-offs involved in being fiscally responsible and the consequences of being fiscally irresponsible."

The game joins "Darfur Is Dying" and "Pos or Not" in the line of social-issue video games launched by mtvU to promote awareness of social causes.

For more on the game and the initiative surrounding it, check out Indebted.com.

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