T. Nunes, M. Souza, E. Cornacchione

University of Sao Paulo (BRAZIL)
Gomes et al. (2011) state that "if we are not aware of the ways in which accounting today is different from accounting in the past, and how accounting has come about (...), then we are more likely to mistake contingent accounting ideas, practices and institutions, local in space and time, as self-evident, universal and necessary, and, therefore, as objects that cannot and should not be changed". Added to this, as videogames have the potential to stimulate the critical thinking (Frasca, 2001), in our laboratory we have developed Deborah Game, a serious game which aims at disseminating Accounting History. It comprises the four historical periods (Melis, 1950):

Ancient Accounting History: The player is a scribe in Mesopotamia, 3000 b.C. and has to register economic events in his clay tablet to earn bowls of barley. His goal is to get 10 bowls of barley before the time runs out. The student learns some symbols which were used by that time, among other educational objectives.

Medieval Accounting History: The player is in Florence, fourteenth century. His goal is to find the 7 elements which gave rise to double entry bookkeeping (according Littleton, 1927) and deliver them in their proper place.

Modern Accounting History: The player is a Steward in a monastery in Portugal, eighteenth century. In this game the system of charge and discharge is presented to the student. The goal is to choose the right person responsible for the transaction that is presented, and also the right accounting book (Oliveira e Brandão, 2010).

Contemporary Accounting History: The player is in the year 2050 to talk to Master Ruth, which will guide her through australian cities while give her lessons about accounting issues. It's based on Hines (1989) and provokes the reflection on the myth of accounting neutrality.

The game was designed for undergraduate students of the Accounting History course of the University of Sao Paulo (USP), and it was also implemented in the same course offered for free as a MOOC (massive open online course) in the Coursera platform, which had about 4 thousand students in 2015, from more than 50 countries. Currently, as it is freely available at , in english and in portuguese, other universities have used the game in their own Accounting courses.

Results based on the questionnaries applied before and after students had played the game (pre and post-tests) showed improvement on their knowledge regarding Accounting History: it was demonstrated by a significative increasing in the indication of the correct answer in most objective questions on topics related to Accounting History covered in the game.

As a final remark, based on students answers, Deborah Game contributed to disseminate Accounting History, consequently leading to a different view of accountants, tackling the stereotype of mere technical professionals, allowing them to be seen as social changers.