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Developer, University Making Anti-Smoking Game For Girls

Indianapolis-based game designer and developer of computer and console games IN-Gabriel Entertainment announced that it is working with a leading Indiana University resea...
Indianapolis-based game designer and developer of computer and console games IN-Gabriel Entertainment announced that it is working with a leading Indiana University researcher to develop an anti-smoking computer game for girls. The goal is to let pre-teen females have fun and engage them long enough to communicate the myths and dangers associated with smoking. Ocean Secret, as the game is tentatively titled, is the first installment in a series of health-related games to be known as the Dolphin Pier Mysteries. The project is funded by a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award through the National Cancer Institute and matching funds from Indiana's 21st Century Fund. The project team includes Gabriel staff, researchers, nurses and educators. Guiding the content is Dr. Anna McDaniel, director of the Health Informatics program in IU's School of Informatics and associate professor in the School of Nursing. The testing for the game will include pre-teen girls from Girls, Inc. of Indianapolis, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring girls of all ages. Ocean Secret is in the final stages of creative development, which has included character development, story line formulation, story boarding and dialog development. The prototype game will be submitted along with an application for funds for a Phase II SBIR award to complete and launch the game by mid-2007. "Ocean Secret involves an exciting partnership," Gabriel principal Michael Root said. "Dr. McDaniel is a well-known researcher and all-around expert on tobacco prevention. Gabriel brings the creative and technical chops to the table." McDaniel, whose research specialty is the use of technology to support smoking cessation and nicotine dependence treatment, said the game approach holds great promise for communicating to a young audience. Ocean Secret is expected to be distributed by mass-market channels such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy and CompUSA, as well as the education market.

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