Invite Only VR

Business / Non-Profit Category

By play4REAL Lab at the Yale Center for Health and Learning Games

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Description: Invite Only VR is a game intervention focused on JUUL/e-cigarette prevention in adolescents that was developed with funding from Oculus. The intervention is currently being evaluated in a randomized controlled trial.In the game, the player must navigate peer pressure, including the pressure to vape. As the game progresses, the player develops new powers he can use to help him successfully navigate high-pressure situations. The player also learns that one of the characters in the game has taken up JUULing and must take steps to help the character recognize her nicotine addiction. Invite Only VR uses voice recognition software, which allows the player to practice engaging with virtual peers in real time.

Skills and Ideas Taught: After completing the game, students will be able to:

  1. Explain how vaping, or using e-cigarettes like JUUL, could negatively affect their health and lives
  2. Demonstrate effective refusal skills to resist the use of e-cigarettes
  3. Summarize how social media and e-cigarette marketing aim to influence teens to use their products
  4. State resources available to help a person who is addicted to JUUL/e-cigarettes

Goal or Challenge: In the game, the player takes on the role of Mike as he attempts to get an invitation to an exclusive party. To attend this “invite only”party, Mike makes use of 4 unique powers to navigate social situations and different types of peer pressure. Each of these powers are granted through texts from an unknown number, who also ensures Mike can repeatedly relive the same afternoon leading up to the party until he secures the invitation. Mike’s powers include the power to observe the environment, the power to apply newly-gained knowledge about vaping in conversations with others, and the power to refuse peers in an effective way

Primary Audience: Adolescents ages 12 to 16

Assessment Approach: Whenever the player correctly uses in-game powers, he or she receives “lives” that are used to play the Space Cats minigame (see below for details). The powers that are scored using lives are the knowledge power, which the player uses to correct game characters when they say something about e-cigarettes that is wrong (e.g. “JUUL isn’t an e-cig, it’s totally different”), and the power of understanding, which the player uses to decode peer pressure statements about vaping (e.g. “Wanna blaze? It’s a sweet buzz”). When using powers, correctly identifying the appropriate fact or type of pressure earns the player 4 lives. Each time the player chooses an incorrect answer, the total number of possible lives earned for that situation decreases by 1 and the player must try again until they are correct. There are 20 opportunities to earn lives, so a perfect score in the game is 80.

Game Engine: Unity

Operating System: Oculus Go

Platform: Oculus Go

Special Hardware: Oculus Go