ACC rolls out the zombies with serious message about falls

ACC does a swag of things to prevent falls in the home, there’s even a national strategy for it.

Now it’s added a game, Safe House, created by Auckland company InGame, to the kitbag it uses to educate people about the issue.

Free on browsers and as an iPhone and Android app, Safe House sees users defend their homes not just against skeletal, bug-eyed freaks, but also protect themselves from household hazards.

“Safe House is a twist on zombie survival games, but players don’t have any guns or traditional weapons, so they must figure out how to use everyday household objects against the invading zombies,” says InGame director Stephen Knightly.

The company specialises in gamification, bringing elements of game play to training, marketing and non-profit campaigns. Knightly says there’s a movement towards ‘serious’ games in New Zealand, with many projects underway in the health sector.

ACC says more than a third of annual injury claims are a result of falls in and around the home and it’s not just older people and children who fall. About 40 percent of falls happen to working age people, so can impact families, workplaces and the economy, it says.

“People are often surprised when they hear that [a third of claims come from falls]because they think people get banged up on the road or playing sports,” says senior media advisor Glenn Donovan. Falls at home are a “hard nut to crack” when compared with programmes like sports injury prevention, where coaches and players can be targeted, he says.

“In the home it’s a lot harder to target people.”

In 2012 ACC responded to this challenge with Idea Nation, which called on the public for creative ideas about how to prevent falls, pledging to develop into reality as many of them as they could.

InGame and Tim Thorpe Consulting won the business category of the contest with their idea for a game.

“What captured our attention about this idea is the huge potential that the ‘gamification’ of learning has for influencing behaviour change. This game could work in a similar way to other hugely popular Facebook/viral online games and lay down home safety fundamentals across a wide audience in an entertaining way,” the judges said at the time.

Knightly says because of the target audience of working age people, InGame avoided using elderly and young characters. ACC’s research showed Kiwis often believed they were invulnerable, while other family members were at risk. To combat this perception, InGame included a scenario where players had to look after the entire family, including themselves.

It’s the first time ACC has supported a ‘serious’ game as part of its injury prevention work and will use Safe House to assess whether it will support other similar initiatives in future.

It budgeted to invest about $283,000 in the game, including development, marketing and evaluation.

AUT senior lecturer in advertising, Martin Waiguny, says games are an effective way to change behaviour. “Research shows that games don’t just communicate messages, they make people experience those messages. This is a key difference that sets them apart from other types of communication.”


Producer: Stephen Knightly

Executive producer: Tim Thorpe

Lead developer: Erik Hogan

Lead artist: Kerry Simpson

Music and sound: Adam Cooper, Micah Livesay

Testing: Mana Khamphanpheng, Joe Chang

Business manager: Paul O’Leary

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