August 12, 2013

Review of ‘Wink Wink’ from bedsider.org

Posted in New Horizons Educational Program tagged , , , , at 8:18 am by Lund

Bedsider

Wink Wink is an app developed by the website bedsider.org to promote their efforts in educating young people about using and staying on birth control.  Bedsider.org is aimed at 18-19 year olds and is operated by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.  7 out of 10 pregnancies among young women in this age group are described by the women themselves as unplanned.  (bedsider.org)  Proceeds from the sale of the app go towards bedsider’s goal of $1,000,000 which will be used to continue their outreach.    It also is an effort to drive young people to the large amounts of information and resources that they have on their website.

Addictive gaming apps can have a huge influence – think angry birds, fruit ninja, candy crush – but can they move beyond just being fun to play?  But to start with, is this one fun?

The basic premise of the game is that you have to protect Wink, the heroine, from an onslaught of ‘Wonks’ that look extremely like sperm.   There are various methods of protection – forcefields, vortex, spinning angry looking red things.  Of course, the safest way to keep the wonks from Wink is not to play the game at all but since we are in Vermont, we’re not going to teach that.

The initial levels are easy enough to breed complacency and then things take a turn at level 4 or so when the ‘wonks’ are coming thick and fast and you have to keep your eyes in every corner of the screen to protect Wink, use the wonks to pop bubbles on the screen and clear the field of play.  It illicits many frustrated utterances as the green swirling wonks deflect your efforts or the red ones shoot down at high speed towards Wink.  There is the option to rewind 5 seconds and try again.  This is interesting as perhaps if there were such a feature in real life, there would be far fewer unplanned pregnancies.

Laura May Ackley, Vermont’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Specialist jumped at the chance to play an iPhone app in the course of her day’s work and found the game entertaining.  She particularly enjoyed the wonks’ facial expressions. But her conclusion?  “I don’t think anyone playing it would really take away any helpful information.”

It remains to be seen whether everyone will soon be playing Wink Wink on their way to work, waiting for the dentist or during their lunch hour.  And if it does become that popular, it will be very interesting to see if there a huge bump in the visitors to bedsider.com.*

*Review terminated as I must get back to the game.  Level 7 is particularly tricky.

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