U.S. Army Funds the DUI Game
By: Mike Stetzer
Students at the University of Calgary developed a drunk
driving video game-style simulator. The U.S. Army recently provided funding to
the game’s developers to make improvements to the game in hopes of using it as
a DUI prevention tool. The U.S. Army intends to use the game to help soldiers returning
from Iraq adjust to home life.
When playing Booze Cruise, gamers enter their weight and the
number of alcoholic drinks they have consumed. Then they must attempt to
navigate their vehicles home, avoiding other vehicles and pedestrians, before
the time expires. The game factors in delayed reflexes and blurs the screen to
mimic the drunk driving experience.
Said professor Jim Parker in an article in the Globe and Mail: "They come back and
they also haven't driven a car in two years. So they can drink, they can drive,
and bingo, they get into trouble. The goals are pretty pure here. They're
trying to keep their guys from getting hurt."
reported the Army plans to put the new and improved game into use within the
The game, in its basic form, was originally developed in
2007. Developers looked for bidders to help make further improvements to the
game, and the U.S. Army stepped up to the plate.
Jim Parker, University of Calgary professor of both computer
science and fine arts, has led the project. Parker says the concept of the DUI game is to make users understand that
it is not possible to "think yourself sober."
Not everyone is a fan of the Booze Cruise game. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada
feels that the game will teach people the skills to drive drunk, rather than
acting as a DUI preventative.