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Canadian prof develops drunk-driving sim

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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

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