By Brett Gillin
How do you reach out to young, impressionable sailors in order to teach them some valuable life lessons? That’s a question that has been floating around the Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Office for some time now, and their latest effort may have answered that exact question. The Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Office, or NADAP, has developed an application for smartphones called Pier Pressure, which aims to teach sailors valuable lessons, in an easy to pick up game form.
Pier Pressure is described by the Military Times Blog as “Think Angry Birds meets middle school D.A.R.E. class,” and after some hands on time with the application, we can’t help but agree with the assessment. It’s a little bit role playing, a little bit game, and a whole lot of lessons taught in an amusing way. When explaining what brought the Navy to create this applications, NADAP director Dorice Favorite said “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. 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.”
The game starts out with the player selecting from one of five characters, three female and two male, all of which are lieutenant junior grade. After customizing the character, the player begins their day by stacking boxes onto ships as quickly and efficiently as possible in the allotted time. Once that task is complete, the player sends a text to a friend making plans for the evening.
Three options are presented, stay in, go out to eat, and go out drinking. Depending on the decision you make, the game branches out. If, for instance, you decide to go out drinking, you find yourself playing a game of “shufflepuck” with a $100 budget. That budget can be used to order food, drinks, or even a cab home. The game allows you to “power up” with certain food and drinks, but the player must be careful, because if they drink too much, their performance is downgraded the following day.
Your score is calculated based on how well you perform in the loading of the ship and the bar game, as well as the decisions you make throughout the day (for example, taking a cab home after too much to drink is a big positive, but getting behind the wheel will dock you serious points.)
All the while, the game gives you tips on how to be responsible when drinking or hanging out with friends. The app also comes with tools like a Blood Alcohol Content calculator and a tool that will help you locate a cab company whenever you’ve had too much to drink.
The app is available to everyone on the Google Play and Apple app stores.