Mars: An Ethical Expedition

A choose your own adventure game.

Mars: An Ethical Expedition! is an interactive, 12-week, narrative game about the colonization of Mars by various engineering specialists. Students take on the role of a head engineer and are presented with situations that require high-stakes decision-making. Various game mechanics induce students to act as they would on-the-fly, within a real engineering project context, using personal reasoning and richly context-dependent justifications, rather than simply right/wrong answers. Each segment of the game is presented in audio and text that ends with a binary decision that determines what will happen next in the story. Historically, this game had been led by an instructor and played weekly, as a whole-class assignment, completed at the beginning of class. The class votes and the majority option is presented next. In addition to the central decision, there are also follow-up questions at the end of each week that provoke deeper analysis of the situation and reflection on the ethical principles involved.

screenshot from the mars game

This game was initially developed within a learning management system, then supported by the Twine™ game engine. In 2022-23 the game was redesigned and extended using the Godot™ game engine. In addition to streamlining the gameplay loop and reducing the set-up and data management required by instructors, this redesign supported instructors with an option to allow the game to be student-paced and played by individual students or to keep the instructor-led 12 week whole-class playstyle.

Let's Practice!


Play more of the game to find out what happens next!