Tunnel Tails

By Schell Games

Business Category


Year Award/Recognition


Skills and Ideas Taught:  The asynchronous multiplayer element in the game lets the player know that they are not alone in their fight. Players are able to select a leader for their group of Mice, and enlist their friends’ leaders’ help on missions. This way, it becomes evident that their friends are also battling the same forces and they can even get a notion of how far into the struggle they are by comparing against a friend’s level. The goal is to create a positive peer group for the player, to reinforce the notion that there are people out there who are working toward the same goals.

Goal or Challenge: The project goals are to:

  • Create a fun, engaging experience that audiences want to play.
  • Engage players without preaching to them.
  • Introduce players to situations where they may feel pressured, acknowledge that the choice or response is theirs and then provide a range of strategies that can be matched to various situations with varied effectiveness.
  • Introduce both external and internal pressures that can influence decision-making.
  • Show that players don’t need to give in to negative pressures to be cool.
  • Provide both skill recognition and actualization activities.
  • Create a mechanism for showing positive peer support.
  • Model the reality that the majority of their peers do not use substances, nor do they find it cool.

Primary Audience: Youth between 11 and 14 years old who are particularly susceptible to social influences and peer pressure.

Assessment Approach: Learned adaptive skills can be measured in the following ways:

  1. The speed and efficiency at which the player’s game play adapts to the pedagogically balanced game play mechanics;
  2. The appropriateness of the types of powers, magic and accessories the player employs in specific situations, which determine the number of moves it takes to complete each battle;
  3. The degree to which the multi-player (peer support) component is utilized; and,
  4. The overall progression and exposure to the body of messaging found within the game.

The game relies upon “incidental learning” –meaning unintentional or unplanned learning that results from other activities.

Description: Tunnel Tail is an RPG for iOS (now) and Android devices (soon) that aims to help kids navigate social situations in which they might be pressured to do something they’re not comfortable doing. The game does not address this dilemma directly but rather embeds metaphors in compelling cinematic storytelling and uses core tension and power mechanics to impart solid incidental learning.Both external and internal pressures are explored. Negative consequences from failed situation scan be worked through. In-game team/burrow recruitment allows for different real world personalities, backgrounds and needs. Asynchronous multiplay provides a mechanism for positive peer support.

Game Engine: Beanstalk (Schell Games proprietary engine)

Operating System:  iOS(Android version in development)

Platform:  Mobile

Special Hardware:  None