Preventing Falls with Video Games

Every year over 10,000 New Zealanders have a week or more off work because of a fall around the house. Falls cost our economy over $1.8 billion dollars a year. Can a game change our behaviour?

In 2012 The Accident Compensation Corporation ranIdea Nation, a national competition to crowdsource great ideas for preventing falls in the home. InGame’s proposal for an online video gameFallSafe beat nearly 100 other proposals to win the Best Business Idea category. Now we’re working with ACC’s research, prevention, policy and assessment teams to design the game and conduct a rigorous trial during 2013.

FallSafe would be an online video game using proven gaming and interactive training techniques to teach adults and children about home hazards and risk management in a fun and accessible way. Players build their own or an imaginary home online, similar to popular games like The Sims or Farmville. However, they would also encounter a range of hazards at the same time.

Rather than merely identifying hazards, players could experience the impact of a fall and be able to take action to fix it.

The average player of a social Facebook game is a 40 year old female. So the game would encourage interaction between kids and parents to spark family-wide safety discussions.

The concept was developed in conjunction with InGame partner Tim Thorpe Consulting. Tim consults in the film, television and new media industries, and was previously a professional forester responsible for health and safety in a corporate forestry environment.

The IdeaNation judges said “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.”