Making First Impressions

A Playable Model of Cross-Cultural Trust Building

Our workforce is more global and mobile than ever before. Do our employees have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work and communicate effectively and appropriately? We think that using an interactive narrative game is a promising way to teach cross-cultural communication skills. “Making First Impressions” is a game that was a collaborative effort between the POEM (Principles of Expressive Machines) Lab and the Global Training Initiative (GTI) at NC State University.

The game was built using the RenPy engine and has several key features:

  • Interjection: Players can interject at almost any point in the game, which may have positive or negative effects (or both) to different people
  • Explicit choices: Players are forced to make a decision at critical junctures in the meeting
  • Trust levels: Players are able to check the trust level between two characters at any time
Read more about the student project.

Learning Objectives

After completing this game, participants will be able to:

  • Identify four cultural dimensions that could present challenges if people have different preferences.
  • Explain how those four cultural dimensions are actualized in a business setting.
  • Recommend courses of action for characters to take in order to build trust across cultures