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Drunk Driving: The Videogame

| 4 Oct 2007 17:02
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Students at the University of Calgary have developed a new driving simulation with a unique twist: The object is to drive home loaded out of your mind.

Booze Cruise begins with the player waking up in the trunk of his car, which apparently at one point seemed like a good place in which to pass out. Staggering out and and into the driver's seat, players are given 90 seconds to start 'er up and get home. The trick? You're hammered. The game simulates blood alcohol levels of up to three times the Albertan legal limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood, which represents serious blotto.

"A lot of people believe they could drive drunk," said University of Calgary Professor Jim Parker, who developed the game with students in his Serious Games course. "It's not that big a deal, you just have to pay attention. The game simulates the issues that drunks have in terms of perception."

The game also simulates the results of drunk driving, including property damage and dead pedestrians, and hands out fines and prison sentences accordingly. Parker said police forces have expressed interest in using the game as a teaching aid, and that it may be useful for school use as well. And while some gamers may get a quick giggle out of it, Parker realizes Booze Cruise isn't going to set the world on fire. "It's not going to replace Halo, not even close," he said. "I think it's fun for a little while, then teachers can say, 'Let's talk about this.'"

Booze Cruise is not, however, the first game designed to highlight the negative consequences of drunk driving: In August, a German company announced Piss-Screen, a game in which bar patrons control a car in a Need For Speed-type environment by whizzing on various parts of a pressure-sensitive pad mounted in a urinal.

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