Yale University's Play2Prevent Initiative today announced a partnership with Pittsburgh's Schell Games to develop a title devoted to educating at-risk teenagers on ways to reduce their risk of HIV infection.
Founded in 2010 and funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Play2Prevent is aiming to create "an interactive world in which the player... 'travels' through life, facing challenges and making decisions that bring different risks and benefits," according to its web site
The game will allow players to go back and revise their choices, to see how risky decisions can lead to riskier outcomes, according to the site.
Play2Prevent is aiming for a late 2012 release on mobile and tablet platforms. Rather than just releasing the title and hoping for the best, though, the team is planning a randomized clinical trial on 300 children in New Haven after school programs, to prove the game's efficacy in preventing risky behavior.
"Games are powerful tools in helping people explore roles and risks before life makes them all-too-real and risky," Play2Prevent director and principal investigator Dr. Lynn E. Fiellin said in a statement. "The Play2Prevent initiative focused on helping its players meet the challenges at-risk youth must face head on."
Schell Games is perhaps best known for its work with Disney properties, including work on the Pixie Hollow
and Toontown Online
Carnegie Mellon professor and Schell Games founder Jesse Schell made waves at last year's DICE conference with a memorable presentation
envisioning a future in which "gamification" infects nearly every aspect of everyday life.