I was trawling through various blog posts and news sites yesterday and found this article on the Guardian’s website – ‘Sex, death and government oppression: how Channel 4 are re-inventing the educational video game‘- with a title like that you just have to read more…

A new game is being released that will probably upset a few people – but it made us (some of whom grew up with The Young Ones, Blackadder & Ben Elton) lol!

The name: ‘Privates‘; the aim: sex education for teenagers; the game: classic shoot ’em up.

I’ll leave you to read the details in the original article (and get a flavour from the trailer above). Needless to say, it’s much jollier than the ‘have sex and you will die’ campaign of the ’80s! It’s available online, on August 5th.

Also available from tomorrow, ‘The Curfew‘ is set in 2027 in an Orwellian Britain, with you playing a protester who could change the regime depending on your actions and relationships with others. It’s actually based on recent Government Acts trying to control teenagers’ anti-social behaviour. Another hit in the office is ‘War Twat‘ – a shooter where you fight buses, aliens and er …handbags!

Edupunk‘ is a term used to describe DIY attitudes to teaching and learning practices, originated from, I suspect, 40-somethings who are still ‘punk at heart’.  These games have been created by skilled programmers and designers so are not technically DIY, but they do seem to be tuned into other punk ideologies such as rebellion, anti-authoritarianism and generally being ‘shocking’. But do today’s teenagers share these attitudes? Will parents approve? More importantly, will these games be effective teaching resources?

As is often the case when reading, I’ve completely digressed from my original topic. This article also highlights ‘Smokescreen‘, an interactive drama that invites players to join ‘Whitesmoke’ where they experience the darker sides of social networking. It’s presented as a series of missions, each taking about 20 minutes to complete. This was released last year and has won it’s creators, ‘Six to Start‘, a couple of awards – I can’t believe I missed it before as, even though it’s aimed at teenagers, the messages are relevant to all web users and inspirational for future ‘myBrand‘ work.

It’s encouraging that Channel 4 are looking to small, independent ‘digital creative’ outfits and, in some cases, such as with ‘Privates’ creators, ‘Zombie Cow‘, helping these companies get off the ground. If anyone’s interested in creating a game, see 4 Producers, Channel 4’s online commissioning guide.

Can’t resist returning to ‘Privates’ for the last line – ‘ Never Mind the Bollocks: Here’s The Sex Pistols’