Canadian prof develops drunk-driving sim
Why not just get lashed and play Gran Turismo?
A new videogame has been developed which aims to simulate the experience of drunk driving. The game, named "Booze Cruise", was coded as an academic project aimed at social betterment, rather than a sick commercial stunt to cash in on the worst aspects of human nature.
"The basic story is that this person is absolutely pissed and woke up in the trunk of their car and now is going to drive home," according to Calgary digital media prof Jim Parker, quoted by Reuters.
"Booze Cruise" simulates the effects of drunkenness by the use of blurry and narrowed imagery, annoying lag times etc. Challenges include pedestrians, other cars and a police checkpoint.
Apparently there are also "distractions on the side of the road, like pink elephants", which Parker added "just for fun".
Ha ha - what a card. Some kind of virtual puking experience might have been a tad more gritty, perhaps.
It seems that Canadian plods assisted in the design of the game, "trying to make it as realistic as possible", according to Reuters. The Alberta coppers apparently reckon that "Booze Cruise" could help cut down on drink driving.
"It's going to be a great tool," Constable Rob Haffner told the wire-service scribes.
"Whatever education that we can get out there is always going to be beneficial as far as drinking and driving goes."
Parker acknowledges that many teenagers are very familiar with driving videogames - games which might well be more fun to play than his, as the graphics aren't crippled and the lags are minimised. But he still thinks that his software "will persuade them that alcohol will affect their skills".
That may be true, but surely it would be even more persuasive for an overconfident youth to polish off a few tins of lager and then take on a sober opponent in the racing videogame of their choice. By comparison, Parker's game wouldn't seem to really prove anything about alcohol, just about the developers' view of it. The pink elephants may not help much with the credibility issue, either.
Nonetheless, the media prof is undaunted.
"This is aimed not at adults, this is aimed at people who are 13 to 16," he said. "We want to stop them from doing it in advance."
Hmm. More from Reuters here.®
For the Kids
Oh dear. If ever a phrase was code for "it's rubbish", then "This is aimed not at adults, this is aimed at people who are 13 to 16," must be it.
If you make a comment like that, you're aware that adults think your product is ridiculous and/or stupid, and you implicitly assume that teenagers have lower standards of judgement. And then you're well on your way to being those bank executives from the Natwest adverts.
Quick poll: Has anyone here ever met a teenager who couldn't tell when he/she was being patronised?
I don't see how the context in which the game is pitched will necessarily affect the influence it will have on people. Anyway, I'm not going to pretend that I know how exactly how much games influence people - I'm not a psychologist and almost certainly never will be. I'll hazard a guess that makes two of us.
I was just found it interesting that the general reaction on this site to people's calls to ban violent video games was pretty strong. However, keep the question the same but change the context slightly and the reaction is very different.
There is a big difference in that this is an educational tool that will be pitched to the kids as an accurate depiction of what it's like to drink and drive. The whole point of it is that the kids associate it with the real world out of the gate.
The fantasy world of entertainment games is kept just that, fantasy. If some disturbed kid then mentally crosses the streams and starts to associate it with the real world, or otherwise loses that distinction, that's an issue with that person's mental health/education rather than the content of the game or the way that game is presented.