The people behind youth smoking prevention campaign Truth have just released their own message game for iOS: Graffiti Collective. The basic theme is that smoking is really bad for you and the American cigarette companies do lots of awful things to keep people smoking. BUT even people who smoke like a hundred packs a day might just dig this free game's actual gameplay. As you can guess, it involves lots of awesome graffiti.
I like to think that games qualify as art. And like art, some games seek to promote messages rather than simply entertain. Not everyone will agree with what a message game has to say, but that’s how art works too.
In the Graffiti Collective narrative, a tobacco company has hired a group called Mind Fake Inc. (MFI) to create fake graffiti that inspires people to pick up the cigs. That part is based on something that actually happened. In response to the evilness, a group called the Collective springs up to counter with their own graffiti. It’s an epic battle of the paints.
The game consists of three basic elements: piece creation, location-based missions, and augmented reality.
Since this game is all about spreading your graffiti out in the real world for others to see, you’re going to want some slick pieces of your own. Luckily Graffiti Collective has a powerful and intuitive editor that would make Jet Set Radio (a beloved graffiti game on consoles) red with envy.
The first step in making your own graffiti is to type in a word or phrase. Pick a font and color for your text and it will appear as a basic tag. To make the piece really stand out, you can draw a unique path for it. The word you typed in then changes to match the hand-drawn path. The result is fast-and-easy graffiti that still looks genuine and unique.
Players must take to the streets (figuratively and literally) to complete a variety of missions in order to level up and unlock new fonts and items for the graffiti editor. Using your device’s location services, you’ll also fight against the MFI for control of the area around you. Tags created by you and other players appear spread across the map, as do the enemy pieces that must be neautralized.
Another cool feature is the ability to take photos with your device and then add your own graffiti pieces to the photo. It’s all the fun of graffiti tagging without the mess or THE MAN chasing you down. These photos can then be shared directly to Facebook or saved to the device for sharing by other means.
Graffiti Collective is a freemium game, meaning anybody can download and play it for free. The in-game shop also sells new fonts and items for real money, but they’re not necessary to play the game. Anti-smoking message or no, Truth and developer Mighty Play’s latest game should provide artists and creative-minded players a much safer outlet than running around tagging up all those shadowy parked train cars.