back to article Xbox gamers urged don't get smashed

The Scottish Government is to spend £10,000 on a trial scheme to place anti-drink adverts directly into Xbox 360 games across Scotland. The adverts will be seen by gamers playing the online versions of titles including Need for Speed: Carbon, Project Gotham Racing 4 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2008. Project Gotham Racing 4 anti- …


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  1. jai

    brilliant idea

    i think this is a great idea - a genuingly smart way to promote the message

    as they say, it's not overly obtrusive, and as well as delivering an important message, it also increases the realism of the game. too often the billboards in these racing games are so similar and artificial - but here will be ones that look as much like they are real billboards along the streets outside.

    the only slight problem is that most people playing these games will be at home, with no need to drive.

    and who drinks alcohol while playing computer racing games anyway? it slows your reaction time so much you'll never get a decent lap time

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Risk of trivialising the message?

    Isn't there a risk of trivialising the drink/drive message by including it in such games? The target audience may well spot them and laugh at their presence in a game where you can smash into a wall at 280mph and bounce off or respawn. It's almost like the message is having the piss taken out of it - "Don't drink and drive? Nah, we can do what we want!"

  3. Dan P
    Thumb Down

    Games are not the place

    Games are not the place for messages of this kind. Games are there for escapism, you don't have to worry about drink-driving in a game because of the very fact that it's a game, and therefore you shouldn't have to worry about seeing adverts like this in-game. Sure, put them on motorway bridges, on billboards, wherever in the real world, but not in the cyberworld, in the cyberworld there is no such thing as drink driving, and so there should be no such thing as drink driving warnings.

    Next they'll be suggesting putting big notices about the danger of guns on games like Halo and CounterStrike, or having mandatory psychological assessments done every time you accidentally team kill.

  4. Cameron Colley

    RE: Risk of trivialising the message?

    I have to agree there, I remember playing XJ220 with at a friends house when we were teenagers -- we found the game much more fun after a few cans of cider (this was the days before alcopops). I also remember clocking up the high score on Pinball Wizard and laughing at the "winners don't do drugs" message through a cloud of marijuana smoke.

    Besides, if someone's stupid enough to drink drive with all the messages already out there I can't see this stopping them.

  5. Chris
    Thumb Down


    Waste of tax dollars.

    Has anyone ever done a solid study of the effectiveness of these adverts?

    I don't disagree that education helps combat drunk driving, but do these reminder and/or shock ads really work?

    I've never had a moment when drinking when I have remembered an anti-drinking advertisement other than one incident where a group of friends and I mocked the melodramatics of these advertisements.

    "Huh huh, We're LOS 3RS"

  6. brian s

    What about 420?

    There are lots of gamers online smoking weed and playing.

    Please target them too.

  7. Dave
    Thumb Down

    A waste.

    Especially when I have a few beers and then play these kinds of games.

    As to the first poster, I still can't beat my record lap time, sober or not, and I got it not sober. :)

    This also sets a dangerous precedent for unwanted forms of subtle social engineering.

    "Pay your taxes"

    "Trust the government"

    "Relinquish your freedoms"

    "There is only one god"

    Not a good idea.

  8. Geoff Mackenzie

    Mujch more important...

    ...would be trying to convince people not to get drunk while designing consoles. Might solve a few problems.

  9. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    RE: jai

    "....and who drinks alcohol while playing computer racing games anyway?"

    Erm.... well.... there was this one time.... heck, it was only TOCA, and so what if we had a little competition to see who could crash the most spectacularly.... it was the PEER pressure, man!

    On a more serious note, what a cheap (only £10k!!) and simple way to get lots of publicity for the message!

  10. Highlander

    Can you imagine...

    ...these ads in Burnout Paradise?

    The whole point of the game is to race through streets at stupid speeds jump over and through things, take out opponents and crash as spectacularly as you can. Some how I think this campaign may not work in that kind of game...

  11. Azrafael

    Oh come on!

    I ain't sure bout you guys.

    But I drink and drive in BURNOUT and currently awaiting to get paradise.

    It's a real challenge challenging your mates in the game drunk.

    That's where the fun accelerates!

    (Pun intended)

  12. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: Can you imagine...

    Or "always look out for pedestrians in the road" in Carmaggedon! Now that was a fun game, whatever your state.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That game REQUIRES drink-drive. There was one instance where I commandeered a Wiimote while I was totally blitzed beyond recognition. When I'm sober, I suck horribly at this game and simply cannot win. Out of my mind, though, I set a series of as-yet-unbeaten scores on that poor man's Wii. Apparently I was trying to drive straight, but instead ended up executing a series of hundreds of perfect high-speed drifts and tree runs.

  14. Clyde

    Only available in Scotland though

    Seemingly they'll be using IP numbers to identify users in Scotland.

    I'm not certain that's 100% reliable identification process.

    But it opens up a whole new marketing avenue - very targetted audience area for things like Irn Bru (everybody seen the Irn Bru Snowman ad this year again ? Fantastic). Or cider in Somerset, or hovis in Yorkshire .........

  15. John Parker

    @Cameron - "Winners Don't Use Drugs"

    Ho ho ho :)

    I also used to rack up unnerving high scores with my friends on 'Pinball Fantasies' on the Amiga, thru one of those clouds of devilweed smoke ;)

    When we weren't stoned, it actually seemed quite a bit harder to maintain such an unshakable, constant focus on the game at hand. Used to work for driving games too...

  16. Steve
    Thumb Up

    Surprisingly sensible

    Your main target audience is young drivers you're likely to get at least as much exposure as you would spending that amount of money on bilbords or TV ads.

    It's definitely a step up from the "young people crash more, young people play more games - therefore games make you a bad driver" line of reasoning that we often see.

  17. call me scruffy


    Ah! But these adverts are in cyberspace, on THE INTERNET, since the internet is American turf (Well that's what they keep saying, and they tend to get shitty when you doubt their claims to ownership.) this means that Scotland has delivered a governmental message to US citizens. Next they'll be trying to tax those citizens, and tax them WITHOUT representation!

    More seriously, it's possible that some hand-eye tasks do get easier when you're too stoned to get bored with them, the problem with real driving is that you have other drivers being complete fuckwits, which tends to fall outside of the nice smooth driving experience.

  18. Scott Mckenzie

    Great idea

    Regardless of who it's aimed at etc if they've genuinely only spent £10k on it and they've had how much media coverage because of the idea, it's a bargain!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is getting ridiculous

    The Health & Safety facism in the UK appears to know no bounds. How soon will it be before reruns of Inspector Morse are banned, because him stopping off for a lunchtime pint before driving off to solve a case are deemed to be "sending the wrong message"?

  20. Graham Marsden

    Why not...

    ... have messages in first person shooters saying "don't kill people" whilst we're at it...?

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