In an effort to reach young, impressionable sailors through their mobile phones, the Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Office has launched Pier Pressure, an iPhone/Android app that combines gaming and advice for making good choices when it comes to your time off.
Think Angry Birds meets middle school D.A.R.E. class.
“During the development of the Keep What You’ve Earned Campaign, we heard from young, enlisted sailors that the best way to reach them was through their mobile phones,” said NADAP director Dorice Favorite in a news release. “Pier Pressure will help sailors understand how responsible drinking can keep their careers on track, and alternatively, how abusing alcohol can lead to serious consequences.”
On the gaming side, Pier Pressure starts you off by letting you select one of five characters, three female or two male, with customizable hair and eye colors, all ranked seaman apprentice.
The day begins with a shift at the dock, loading ships in a certain amount of time before they head out. After work, you send a text to a friend and make plans for the night.
You can choose one of three canned responses to each text message. You can either decide to stay in, or go out and eat or drink. Sample conversation:
Friend: Do you wanna grab some food?
You: No, I think I’ll drink my calories tonight.
You get a $100 budget when you go out, which is actually just a game of shufflepuck. (That’s a blend of bowling with a hockey puck on a table, for the uninitiated.) You can order food and drinks, but a cab ride is $45, and your score is affected if you don’t get a safe ride home.
You earn points both for your expertise at ship-loading and shufflepuck, as well as your good choices. While moving throughout the app, the loading screens offer “pro tips.”
“You may notice the level of difficulty in the Harbor game increases based on your decisions the night before. Responsible choices will help you earn a promotion, while destructive choices may result in demotion. Choose Wisely!”
A leaderboard in the app lets you compare your scores against your friends.
The tools section of the app include a blood alcohol level calculator, a cab company search based on your location, and multiple Navy resources.
The idea for the app came directly from sailors, according to a release. Developed by contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, 110 sailors participated in testing the app.
“In the game, the choices you make at the bar affect your skill level at work the next day, which in turn affects your player’s evaluation reports,” said Mike Aukerman, alcohol program manager at NADAP. “Just like in real life, smart drinking choices help advance your career, while poor choices can get you separated from the Navy-a.k.a. game over.”