Monday, March 21, 2011

Tick Tackler = The Very Stuff of Nightmares

This is what Mike and the 'bots used to call "good old-fashioned nightmare fuel." The Lyme Disease Association has created a browser-based game to teach kids the horrors of the world away from their video games proper way to safeguard against tick-borne illnesses.

The game begins with l'll Jack suffering the night-sweats from a terrifying dream of an army of invading ticks. A dream no doubt caused by playing this very game!

The experience is divided into several sections to teach various skills for preventing tick bites: packing and dressing correctly for being in the frightening world outside your front door, staying to the path to avoid ticks, removing ticks, sorting ticks, and other fun parasite-based gaming activities.

The section called "Leading the way" begins with a child screaming "AAAAAAA! GEDDITOFFME!" like a drunk with the DTs. A sense of danger lurking in every blade of grass and behind ever shrub pervades the entire game. The "Tick family attacks" section, which shows ticks crawling all over your screen, will haunt me for days.

If you want to terrify your kids, let them spend a few quality hours with Tick Tackler. I know Lyme Disease is pretty serious. Trust me: I've put in my time with Scouts and have done the tick dance too many times to underrate the dangers posed by these tiny terrors. But there are just some experiences that can't be taught with a game, particularly one that is a queasy mixture of jauntiness and paranoid fever dream.


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