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Trip Hawkins' new game helps children grow their emotional intelligence

Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins is currently working on a game for tablet devices with his start-up, If You Can, that aims to help children grow their emotional intelligence.

Speaking to Venture Beat, Hawkins said the new game, titled IF, aims to supplement learning in schools by focusing on areas that aren't typically taught in the classroom: social and emotional development.

The game, which is yet to receive a launch date, is targeted at children aged six to 12-years old. Players take on the role of an animated character in a fantasy simulation and have to learn how to be sensitive to other characters while learning to understand their own emotions. IF uses chapters to teach empathy, offering lessons on what an emotion is, how to identify them, recognizing how others are feeling and how to interact with people in a compassionate way.

"If you can manage your emotions effectively, you can function and deal with a bully more effectively," Hawkins told Venture Beat. "If you're a bully, you are either neurotic or psychotic. The hope is a bully can examine their own feelings and emotions and become more aware."

The game helps players navigate these concepts and emotions through a combination of storytelling, missions and interactions with other characters in the game's town.

"People are worried about suicide, bullying and cyber-bullying now. They have caught on now that social and emotional learning is vital," Hawkins said. "What we're trying to do is use game technology in a new way."