Great Britain: Collecting Condoms and Avoiding STDs Is Aim of Super Mario-Style Safe-Sex Game

This article was reported by Leicester Mercury (UK).

The Leicester Mercury reported that the Leicestershire Teenage Pregnancy Partnership (LTPP) in Leicestershire, England, recently launched "Game On," a teen-oriented, Super Mario-style online game that promoted safe sex and sexual health. Players had to avoid STDs, alcohol, and drugs; and collect condoms to "rubber up" in the "Game On" world, which was similar to the Super Mario Nintendo series. According to LTPP Commissioning Manager Katie Phillips, "Game On" promoted the partnership's services and allowed teenage gamers to compete against each other while learning important messages about avoiding risks.

LTPP developed "Game On" based on the success of an earlier, similarly themed YouTube video, which received 600,000 views and continued to be popular. Phillips stated that a consultation with 500 young people helped LTPP understand teen's media preferences, which indicated that "Game On" should be available on smartphones and tablets. The game allowed LTPP to present information in a fun way, with a serious message about cutting the number of teenage pregnancies. Phillips noted Leicestershire recorded 303 teenage pregnancies in 2011, and expressed hope that a report due in February 2014 would indicate the number had dropped far below 300.