Soul Control – an anti violence videogame
In the last few weeks, videogame violence and its effect on kids has been in the public eye once again, with a dubious newspaper even offering to pay for stories about how playing your favourite Mario game made you stamp on your girlfriend’s face, or something. However, one title looks like it could buck that trend.
Soul Control is an independent game set for release on 3rd April, has been created by twenty 16-19 year olds for “multimedia education” company Rollingsound. The young people taking part in the project, most of whom who were categorised as NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) were taught skills in top computer game design software – including the same software used to create the movie Shrek – and then used their new-found skills to design and build their own game.
The game appears, somewhat ironically, to be inspired by the Grand Theft Auto series, and warns of the dangers of knife crime and drugs faced by young people in a realistic way. You play as a kid who lives on a London estate and you can interact with your friends, family and the people you meet on the street. You make choices, only the more criminal behaviour you take part in, the more your choices and options eventually run out. This aspect is almost certainly helped by the fact that this game was very much a reality for some of the people who worked on it. For instance, just over a year ago, Reepa, one of the young people working on the project, was in a prison cell, facing his tenth sentence for a cycle of violence, robbery and burglary that began when he was fifteen.
“I’ve seen a lot of bad things on the street,” said Reepa. “But it’s definitely getting worse. I hope young people play this game, and see that there is another way.”
Now, using the skills in film making and music production picked up in the Soul Control project he is now planning to set up his own record label.
The young people involved in the project are now putting Soul Control, which also combines film and music which they produced themselves, online as a free downloadable game at soulcontrolgame.co.uk. RollingSound are so impressed with what they have produced they are now seeking funding for a second phase of the project, to develop a more in-depth game that covers the whole of London.
A story about videogames being used in a positive manner? You don’t see many places reporting things like that, do you?