Warning Label Games Blog
But how can I deny my phones cute little buzz when it calls to me? Answer me, use me, love me…I hear one ring and all thoughts of those cute furry squirrels slip away. The temptation is just too much. But I’m committed, so lately I’ve been looking into other technologies that will help in my quest to save the squirrels. Check out my reviews below.
Auto SMS: While this application is only available for android, it is a double hitter. The app reads incoming texts out loud, and sends back a customizable “sorry, driving right now” text. Because Eighty-nine percent of teens say that the reason that they text while driving is because they feel pressured to answer a text message within five minutes of receiving it, this seems perfect. You get whatever information was sent, and you can stay safe without feeling rude. While I haven’t tried the app myself, it’s boasting tons of great reviews.
Drivesafe.ly: I downloaded this app for my iPhone, because it’s seemed to have a lot of cool features, and there aren’t a lot of apps that do this kind of thing in the Apple store. However, after I took a few test runs with this app I am disappointed to say that it did not live up to my expectations. A lot of the features it advertised are not really possible because of the way ios works. What I will say is when you take away all the bells and whistles, it was easy to start up before my drive, and it did stop my phone from alerting me that I had incoming texts, removing the temptation to check my phone. For that reason, I would recommend it.
Can’t text: I tried this app out on a friend android device, and it worked really well. It didn’t alert us to
any incoming texts, and we had fun deciding what our auto reply message would be. The only con to this app was when we forgot to turn it off. But I suppose you would run into that problem with any app.
Drive Mode: If you’re on the blackberry, drive mode can help you curb your texting while driving urges by doing something similar to the other apps. What I liked about it was it also auto replies to emails, if that is your area of weakness. Drive Mode is free for people AT&T, and will be coming to other devices soon.
Siri: I took a Siri equipped phone out for a spin to see if I could do some hands free texting. While it was seemingly simple, Siri and I were never really on the same page, and I ended up taking my attention away from the road more than once. It is not something I would make a habit of. This video does a good job of explaining the problems someone would run into using Siri and driving. I never actually sent a text, and decided it would just be easier to wait until I got home.
The simplest solution to the texting and driving problem is will power. Just don’t pick up your phone. But if you’re someone like me, who is serious about not driving while distracted and just needs a bit of extra help I would definitely recommend you look into these and other options available. Now if I could only find an app that would talk to my friends in the back seat, feed me my burger, pick the right song to play, I would really be distraction free! Until then, I will just keep fighting the good fight.
New Intern, here! I signed on as the Warning Label Games intern for the summer because it seemed like a quirky company with a fantastic cause. It looked like a job that I could wake up excited about every morning. So far, I have been absolutely right on both accounts. Raising awareness through humor in a fun and engaging way is both a delightful and fulfilling job.
However, I’m just not a funny person. I try, but people only laugh at my jokes in the “wow, that was so bad its funny” or “I will give her some pity” kind of way. My employers typically laugh at me, not with me. My friends take every opportunity to use the “Sure! You’re funny…… looking” joke.
I decided to take it upon myself to become a master of all this funny so I would fit in better here. After hours of research and days of practice I thought I was ready to present myself as a transformed employee, and take the title of funniest one here. My target was the upcoming employee meeting. All the big wigs of the company would be there, even the professor. I waited patiently for the perfect moment, as I had read timing was everything. Finally we reached break in between topics, and I had what I thought was the joke of the century prepared. It would be a perfect segway into the next topic! I gave myself a brief mental pep talk, and then blurted it out:
Q: How to you attract a rich squirrel? No one said anything. A: With Cashews! Everyone stared. There was a lot of face to palm motions, and then we moved on.
Heart broken, I spent the rest of the meeting distracted, thinking about my next move. I thought I was done for. When the meeting was over, I started to packing up my things, when the professor approached me. He has set up a meeting for later today, about my humor. I guess we will see what happens.
It’s been an exciting few months here at the Warning Label Games headquarters. Since Don’t Kill the Squirrel was introduced to the app store, it has already been downloaded 5,000 times, and played over 120,000. What we were most excited to see is that our message has a global reach. So far the game has been played in almost every continent (we are still working on Antarctica). Our players are speaking languages like French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian! It was a surprise to see that we could spread our message about driving while distracted all the way to the other side of the globe.
Don’t Kill the Squirrel is in the midst of some exciting development updates! We want everyone to know that distracted driving is nuts. To ensure that message reaches the largest number of people possible, we will be soon be releasing Don’t to the Squirrel for the iPod and iPhone. Don’t Kill the Squirrel version 1.1 is also in the works. The new version will include updates, enhanced features, and in app purchases to broaden playing experience.
Finally, we kicked off our leader board competition this week! Share your highest Don’t Kill the Squirrel score for the chance to win a $100 iTunes voucher. Competing is simple. All you have to do is upload an image of your highest score on the don’t kill the squirrles website. The highest score submitted by June 30th at 10:00pm will win! June is National Safety Month, and we want you to spread the word about driving safety by sharing your top scores. For more information visit dontkillthesquirrel.com.
At Warning Label Games we are pretty mischievous, but we have good hearts. Our slogan is Play Bad, Do Good. It’s ironic, but it makes sense. You have fun playing the villain in our games, while helping to address serious issues that impact society. What’s more, it’s good for you when you share!
Recent research from UC Berkeley claims people feel better when they gossip and tell others about someone behaving badly (it’s interesting – check it out at http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/01/17/gossip/).
According to one of the researchers, the gossip study is “scientific confirmation of that ‘scratching-a-lingering-itch feeling’ of relief we get from clucking our tongues when someone’s out of line”. So we know you won’t be able to resist playing ‘bad’ in our games – they’re that fun and addictive – but imagine how good you’ll feel when you share it with others! Go ahead, play bad, gossip, do good!
Buckle up! Our distracted driving game, Don’t Kill the Squirrel!, has been approved by Apple. Look out for the release of the premium version next week at a special launch price of just 0.99 cents!
We’ve had so much fun creating Don’t Kill the Squirrel!. How could we not when you combine cute squirrels, chaotic cartoon roads and feral distracted drivers! We’ve also been busy developing new ways to use our game to educate people about the dangers of distracted driving with the aim to change driving behaviors for the better in real life! Stay tuned for a special announcement about our new partnership as part of our launch next week.
If you think you’re a great driver and awesome multi-tasker, put your skills to the test in Don’t Kill the Squirrel!. Collect points for each second you last dodging pedestrians, avoiding dump trucks and swerving cute squirrels. The game features 3D cartoon graphics, easy steering and a working in-car radio with multiple channels.
Speaking of the radio we want to give a shout out to the following incredible musicians who were kind enough to provide the music for our game!
If you haven’t already signed up for first access to the game and entered our competition to win the new iPad, you have just a few more days to visit www.dontkillthsquirrel.com and enter your email. Share the message ‘Distracted Driving is NUTS!’ with your friends and get more entries into the draw.
If you’re a game reviewer or media and are interested in previewing/reviewing Don’t Kill the Squirrel! contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a limited number of promo codes available.
Mobile gaming – taking the world by storm
- In June 2011, time spent in mobile apps officially overtook time spent web surfing. 47% of that time was spent playing games (Source: Appsfunder)
- 53% of all gamers are women, and the number one user segment is economically stable females 35-44, rivaling males 18-25.
- 70%-80% of all mobile downloads are games.
- 37% of iphone owners game daily.
- In 2010, the mobile entertainment industry was worth $33 billion dollars, with gaming representing $8 billion of that.
- By 2014, games are expected to produce $11 billion in revenue.
It’s an exciting day for all of us at Warning Label Games! Today we submitted our first game to the App Store for approval!! While we wait with baited breath and fingers crossed, praying to the App Store Gods for a speedy, distraction-free approval of our game, we thought we’d share a few anecdotes from our experience in getting to this very important milestone!
1. What’s in a name?
We had our concept down for many months – a game about distracted driving. We were about two thirds of the way though development when we realised that ‘Distracted Driving’ as a title did not really capture the humor, sarcasm, irony and action of the game we were in the midst of creating.
Over the course of the next week or two, while development continued, we brainstormed like mad, debating the pros and cons of what felt like hundreds of possibilities. With our marketing team on board we visualized and weighed the options – and then… out of nowhere it HIT us like, well… a distracted driver… the perfect title - Don’t Kill the Squirrel!
2. Stop the Coders!
In a throwback to cheesy black and white movies, we actually yelled this out loud in unison! The coders, being in a different country at the time, obviously didn’t hear us and we sheepishly turned and picked up the phone. Clearly with a name like Don’t Kill the Squirrel! we were going to need some… Squirrels!
3. What the hell is a Squirrel?
This is not really a question we were expecting, but when you’re part of an, albeit small, multi-national team, you can’t always assume. Not familiar with seeing squirrels roaming the parks and climbing trees every day, the graphics developers for our game needed us to spend some extra attention explaining just what a cartoon squirrel actually should look like. Getting squirrels in our game that didn’t look like mutant kangaroos was actually more challenging than you might think – but we made it and we love them! Check out the graphic below to see the evolution of our Squirrels.
p.s. The squirrels have certainly helped us make a name for ourselves. At the recent Game Developers Conference, on meeting us for the first time, the folks from Games for Change remarked “Oh you’re those squirrel people who keep emailing us!”.
4. “Our NUTS have arrived”
Not something we necessarily thought we’d be saying when we first came up with the idea for a distracted driving game… But squirrels and nuts go together like… texting and crashing… And we couldn’t resist the campaign slogan Distracted Driving is NUTS! to help us raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.
Naturally we were going to need some merchandise to go along with the campaign and what better than some Nut-shaped stress balls (mind out of the gutter – they look like acorns) and yes, “our NUTS have arrived”. Join us on Facebook and we might even send you one.
5. Splash Down!
In one of those “I can’t believe this is what’s stumping my start-up” moments we found out just days before submission that the development tool we had been using would charge us a very hefty fee if we wanted to have our own custom splash screen display while the game was loading. ARRRRGGGGHHH!!!! Did we resolve this one? You’ll have to wait to play the game and see.
Speaking of which, if you want to be one of the first to know when the game is approved, head over to dontkillthesquirrel.com. Enter your email and help us spread the message ‘Distracted Driving is NUTS!’. You will also go into the draw to WIN an iPad 2.
In 2009, 5,474 people were killed and 448,000 people were injured in crashes involving driver distraction! Imagine if all those drivers were aware of the dangers of distracted driving and had taken positive steps to prevent it!
We believe we can help achieve just that with the release of our upcoming game for iPad, Don’t Kill the Squirrel!
BUT as scientists, we like to prove our assumptions. So leading up to the launch of Don’t Kill the Squirrel!, The Professor has designed a little experiment of his own that tests the power of spreading a message that benefits society in return for reward.
Get 5,474 people (the same amount that were killed by distracted driving in 2009) to share one very simple message that could SAVE LIVES – Distracted driving is NUTS!
We all like to do good and share fun things with friends, but imagine if you could also be rewarded with the chance to WIN the ‘new iPad’ (that’s the iPad 3 in case you were counting) just for signing up for first access to our game! And what if the more you share this message with friends, the more likely you are to win…
METHODOLOGY: (How to enter)
- Go to dontkillthesquirrel.com
- Enter your email in the space provided
- Share your unique link and the message ‘Distracted driving is NUTS!’ with everyone you know via Facebook, Twitter and email.
- FEEL GOOD – any of your friends that see your message will think twice about driving distracted (you might have saved their life!). Not to mention, every time one of your friends signs up using your unique link, you will get another entry into the draw to win the iPad 3!
- You can also go back to the site and check how many entries you have – compete with friends to see who’ll have the better chance to win!
The competition opens at 6:00pm Thursday, March 1, 2012 and runs until 11.59pm on March 31, 2012. You can come back to www.dontkillthesquirrel.com anytime, enter your email address and see how many people have clicked your link and share it again. The winner of the iPad 3 will be drawn on April 1, 2012.