November 3, 2009 in Games (E)
[prMac.com] Madison, Wisconsin - Can the draw of an iPhone game inspire Swine Flu donations? VFSoftware LLC poses this question with the release of their first app, Beat the Swine '09, in which player progress yields increased donations to the CDC Foundation's Swine Flu relief efforts. In the game, players known as "Swine-Busters" square off against H1N1 as an antibody/blood-cell superhero inside their own infected body. As a player's reported score goes up, so does his/her contribution, starting at 10 cents and ranging to 100% of VFSoftware's revenue from their $0.99 sale.
The game plays in a classic dodge-the-bad-guy style with a medically inspired Swine Flu theme. Players progress through body parts beginning with Symptoms, then the Digestive System (which H1N1 has been found to infect, unlike most flu variations), and finally the Respiratory System. The player is rewarded points after each completed level, increasing donations and linking progress in the game to increased aid in the fight against the real world pandemic.
VFSoftware's Beat the Swine '09 is the first iPhone app to raise monetary donations for H1N1 relief. While the Swine Flu theme itself is not new - existing apps such as Swine Flu Tracker and the new HMSMobile Swine Flu Center provide current pandemic info and prevention tips - Beat the Swine '09 addresses it in a novel way. The app looks to leverage the iPhone's gaming community to generate real quantifiable aid, an attempt not yet seen on the platform.
Beat the Swine '09 begins simply and quickly gains depth as the player gets accustomed to the patterns of viruses and nuances of avoiding them. The game has Easy and Hard modes, providing a broad range of difficulties to engage gamers of all types. Movement and 'jump' control use the iPhone's capabilities in an innovative way, and original artwork helps create a compelling journey through the body.
It will be interesting to watch the reception of Beat the Swine '09 in the dynamic iPhone market. The game would most accurately fit into a new category of 'Cause Apps', which up until this point has been markedly absent from the iTunes App Store. With little precedent, it's hard to tell whether or not users will be willing to pay for such an app. If Beat the Swine '09 has success, we may witness a wave of 'Cause Apps' to follow. If not, perhaps the iPhone app is not yet a viable avenue to rally donations.
* iPhone or Second Generation iPod Touch 3.0 or later
Pricing and Availability:
Beat the Swine '09 is only $0.99 (USD) and available exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.
VFSoftware LLC was founded in May 2009 by long-time software developer Robert Fenchel, recent Michigan grad Michael Fenchel and sophomore at UC-Boulder Jeff Fenchel. Alex Connelly, a senior at University of Vermont, is an equal partner in Beat the Swine '09, responsible for all artwork. Jake Brower, a recent graduate of Cooper Union, created original music and sounds for the game. Copyright (C) 2009 VFSoftware LLC. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone and iPod are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.