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Schell Games creates HIV prevention game

By David Jenkins

Mon 23 May 2011 9:05am GMT / 5:05am EDT / 2:05am PDT

Yale University partnership to make mobile title aimed at at-risk teens

A partnership with Yale University will see Schell Games develop a new game aimed at educating teenagers about ways to reduce the chances of HIV infection.

The university's Play2Prevent initiative was founded in 2010 by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The new video game title will feature, "an interactive world in which the player, using an avatar (virtual character) they have created, "travels" through life, facing challenges and making decisions that bring different risks and benefits."

The official website describes the game as being in the early stages of development, with players given, "the ability to see how their choices affect their lives and subsequently will be able to move back in time to see how different actions might lead to different outcomes."

"By negotiating challenges in a highly repetitive and meaningful way, the player learns skills that translate to real life, equipping the player to avoid situations that increase their risk for HIV."

The game is due to be released in late 2012 on smartphone and tablet devices, with a randomised clinical trial of 300 children planned in order to playtest the game.

Schell Games is best known for licensed massively multiplayer online games such as The Mummy Online and Disney's Toontown Online. Founder Jesse Schell is also a vocal advocate of the Unity middleware platform.

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