Invite Only: VR is a game that focuses on JUUL/e-cigarette prevention in adolescents. You take on the role of Mike, a high schooler who needs to get an invite to the biggest party of the year. With the assistance of a mysterious texter, Mike can learn how to get the invite. Through the game, the player learns about peer pressure, the effects of JUUL/e-cigarette addiction, and where to find resources for those struggling.
My internship with play4REAL started after the creation of the second build. I playtested this build and gave feedback to the team on bugs and possible suggestions to enhance the game. Some suggestions included:
-Adjusting the characters' personalities (with a greater focus on Anthony to be more likable).
-Creating more interactions for the player. The result is the Space Cats minigame and the class activity where users get to click on an ad's components (text, images, etc.) to see how e-cigarette companies target a young demographic.
-Character placement in the cafeteria so the player can have one on one interactions. This helped with worldbuilding, exploring the environment, and learning more about each character.
I was in charge of editing the character's dialogue so that it would be engaging for an adolescent demographic. My tasks included rewriting scripts with new plot developments and connecting choice-based dialogue to the right sections. Google Docs and Excel were used to manage the dialogue.
I also helped in developing the character Yumi, Mike's childhood friend. Yumi struggles with a vaping addiction and the player must learn how to educate Yumi on the dangers of e-cigarettes. The team created Yumi to help students find resources if they or someone they knew was struggling with addiction. Communicating with Yumi also helped to reinstate the facts the player learns about vaping through verbal repetition.
I helped in researching JUUL/e-cigarettes. The research focused on the effects of e-cigarettes on students and how one can become addicted. This is seen in the classroom activity where the player interacts with a JUUL advertisement to see how the ad is aimed at a young demographic. This activity uses visual education techniques to teach players how an ad can affect a student's mind.
I also researched the effects of cannabis vaping shown in the party scene where Mike is talking to Matthew, the JUUL pod dealer. Matthew tries to convince Mike that vaping cannabis can help him relax. It's up to the player to shut him down; the player can tell Matthew about the legality of dealing marijuana to underaged kids or the effects it has on students, which includes nausea, anxiety, and hallucinations.