Two games developers are currently working on an extremely novel idea that is aimed towards encouraging more gamers to donate blood for use in medical facilities.
Taran Chadha and Jamie Umpherson, who are both based in Toronto, Canada, are currently working on a title named Blood Sport that uses the rumble feature present in most videogame controllers to drain blood from the player and deposit it in a blood bank machine for use by doctors.
The idea is being hailed as one of the most inventive to come out of the world of gaming in recent times, though many are understandably expressing reservations about both the concept and the technology behind it. The duo face an uphill battle to prove that the idea is safe and usable, but at the moment they do appear to be rising to the challenge as far as they can.
They are currently operating a Kickstarter campaign that aims to raise $250,000 that would help bring the idea out of the prototype stage and allow for development to the point where it is actually a usable machine.
It is worth making the point now that this is not a game that is going to be released to the general consumer and its intentions lean far more towards the medical side of things than the entertainment side. As such, to even use the device a player must be supervised by a medical professional at all times to ensure that it doesn’t accidentally drain too much blood.
Furthermore, gamers are also asked to enter their vital statistics into the machine, such as their weight, age and height, to allow the machine to create its own cutoff limit that ensures things don’t become unsafe.
Beyond the obvious benefits in regards to encouraging people to give blood, the system also aims to introduce players to a more visceral form of videogame wherein the damage taken or caused by the player has a very real effect on them. According to the pair the game will take “…the consequences of the gaming world and [have] them affect you in real life.”
As mentioned, the device works by plugging into the rumble feature of the controller, sending an electrical signal through to the device whenever the rumble is activated. Typically this will be when the player character is damaged or engages in some form of traumatic event. As such, it is also compatible with any game that makes use of a controllers rumble feature. The duo claims on their Kickstarter page that “All we’re doing is re-routing the same electrical signal and using it to turn on the blood collection system.”
If the pair reach their target they wish to create a two-player version of the unit that can be taken on tours of blood banks in the hopes that the novelty of the device will draw more people to the banks, thus leading to an increase in the amount of blood donated. While there is no mention of whether or not the device will ever make it to the UK, the developers are hoping to begin their tour on March 17th 2015 in their native Toronto.
While many studies have been conducted regarding the medical benefits of playing various types of games, this is an extremely notable instance of a game that aims to raise awareness of an issue through much more visceral means. Should the machine operate as the developers claim it should, it could prove to be a very effective tool in the continued efforts to raise awareness of the importance of blood donation.