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A University of Calgary fine arts professor has created a video game designed to tackle the problem of drinking and driving.

Dr. James Parker developed the game "Booze Cruise," which was developed with the help of students, challenges players to get their cars home within a certain period of time without hitting anyone.

"This game is not like any other racing game you've played," student Nathan Sorenson told CTV News, "It's extremely difficult to achieve your objectives. You'll notice that you're hitting everything (and) you're losing a lot of points."

In the game, the player's key functions are delayed, much like a drunk driver's reaction time. Objects appear from nowhere, allowing the player to experience a type of tunnel vision.

"Somewhere in your mind, you're getting a tangible experience of how difficult it is to drive, even with a few drinks," said Sorenson.

Even those normally opposed to racing games are embracing the realism of "Booze Cruise." The Calgary Police Service provided input at the game's research stage.

"I think they've captured quite a bit of... what stage you'd be at if you drove at three times the legal (alcohol) limit," said Constable Rob Haffner.

With original art, music and design, "Booze Cruise" has been entered in the Future Play Game Contest in Toronto.

Lori Shyba, a digital media artist at the university, was one of those who developed the project. Her hope is that, when players discover how bad they are at the game, they won't try it in real life.

"I hope that one life gets saved for our efforts," she said.



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