Pocket Protection” Uses Humor To Teach HIV/STD Prevention Strategies
A game created by five students at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy finished in the Top 5 of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s “GameOn! Challenge.” The challenge was open to any game developer and encouraged participants to create a fun and engaging mobile game that delivered accurate health messages.
A panel of external partners and CDC staff did the judging and the students were notified on July 18 that their game, “Pocket Protection,” had won Honorable Mention.
“Pocket Protection” is a dating simulation game that uses dialogue, mini-games, customizable characters and humor to teach its target demographic of 18-24 year olds sexual safe practices like getting an STD test, using condoms and getting treated for sexual diseases. The CDC reports that people age 15-24 make up nearly half of the 19 million new STD diagnoses each year.
The game was started in Jan. of 2014 and took approximately 3 weeks to make. The development team included FIEA students Karl Abad, Cecilia Lajon, Phillip Lee Fatt, Jarrod Pope and Monica Alvarez.
“The goal of the game was to create a fun experience that didn’t talk down to the target audience,” said Karl Abad, project lead on the game. “We wanted the player to be able to laugh but still get the information they need.”
Deliver accurate health messages that emphasize the importance of one or more of the following five messages supporting HIV and STD prevention:
- Get the Facts – Provide the facts on HIV and STDs, including how it is (and is not) spread. Share information on how to reduce the risk of HIV and STD transmission including the choice not to have sex.
- Speak Up – Encourage youth to talk about HIV and STDs in their relationships, with health care providers, friends, and family. Talking openly and honestly about HIV and STDs will help reduce stigma.
- Use Condoms – When used consistently and correctly, latex condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV and STDs. But some people are allergic to condoms. But there are other ways to protect yourself.
- Get Tested – Early diagnosis saves lives. Know where to get tested. Make HIV and STD testing a part of routine health care.
- Get Treated – Many STDs are curable and all are treatable. There are effective medications available to help people with HIV live long and healthy lives.
Go to http://challengepost.com/software/pocket-protection to find out more about the game. Go to http://gameon.challengepost.com/ to find out more about the GameOn! Challenge.
Part of the University of Central Florida, the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) offers an industry-based graduate gaming education in a world-class facility in downtown Orlando. Work on the latest game engines and software and be mentored by faculty with decades of game-making experience. In 16 months, learn to be a producer, programmer or artist as you earn a Master’s degree in Interactive Entertainment. Financial assistance is available. Learn more at www.fiea.ucf.edu.