Using Video Games to Keep People Stayin’ Alive – Not a Bad Plan

Using Video Games to Keep People Stayin' Alive - Not a Bad Plan

So, flying through the Dallas airport this weekend I spotted something I thought was a dance game. Turns out, it was a new video game about using CPR and Stayin’ Alive. Damn good idea.

Using Video Games to Keep People Stayin' Alive - Not a Bad Plan

In the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, near Gate C7 and 8 by the American Airlines help desk, travelers hear the beckoning siren’s call of the Bee Gees. Like a lot of other people, I thought it was another dance-simulating rhythm game – hell, they are pretty popular – but I couldn’t’ve been more wrong. Turns out the American Heart Association put a game-like kiosk here to teach the thousand-or-so travelers a day a thing or two about CPR.

Seems like a decent plan, too. I was there for about 30 minutes, and dozens of people stopped by to see what the heck was going on. Several sang along to the song, but many more started talking about CPR, heart trouble that runs in the family, how so-and-so’s life was saved once and so on. Even if no one there was brave enough to practice chest compressions on a rubbery disembodied torso in front of total strangers, it got a dialogue going.

More organizations should think about using gamification to reach out to the masses – and I don’t just mean unhinged people using poorly designed parodies to preach to the converted – I mean drawing people in with something fun, and something that just about everyone does, then spreading a (hopefully positive) message.

Kudos to you AHA, keep up the good work. You just need several hundred more of these things to post across the nation. It’s helpful too. I just took a refresher CPR course this summer, and I still found myself second-guessing CPR techniques until this helpful machine offered a catchy mnemonic device to help jog the old noggin.

This story was originally published on the Kinja blog Observation Deck on Nov. 11th, 2013.

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