Liberty Mutual promotes 'senior driving simulator' through Zynga's PetVille
When I first opened up the Liberty Mutual promotion in the Get Pet Coins & Cash section of PetVille today, I expected 5 free Pet Cash (which I totally got, and you guys should grab it too) and some lazy mini-game on par with FarmVille's free Farm Cash Secretariat promo.
So imagine my surprise when I was treated to a competently done Flash game that (after I had run over a pedestrian and dented my front fender three times) led me to an even bigger, nicer Flash game -- nice enough to warrant a name, Driver Seat, and big enough to declare itself as "the world's first senior driving simulator." Say, what?
It seems the whole point of Driver Seat is to set you up as the most terrible driver possible, then have you struggle with being a terrible driver. This is done so you'll develop sympathy for the plight of senior drivers and how old age makes driving suck, not just for the folks who share the road with them, but for them too, personally. When you start the full version of the game, which is available for free on the Liberty Mutual website here, the game asks you to choose an "impairment level".
After you do that, you get to choose what location you wish to inflict your impaired driving skills on -- the Wilderness, Urban, Suburban, or the Outskirts. There's something quaint, and oddly humorous about this game. In the time I took to write this, I had left my 'impaired' vehicle unattended, thereby causing a long wall of cars to become stuck behind me. But they're all just politely waiting for me to move. I mean, where's the screaming, honking, cursing, and the death threats?
So yeah, it's cute and I got my free Pet Cash, but I don't really get the point. The game just isn't distinctive or realistic enough. It looks sleek, but feels gimmicky and runs (metaphorically) bloodless scenarios. In fact, Driver Seat can probably be repackaged to raise social awareness on the dangers of drunken driving with better results. You just have to slip in some factoids on Blood Alcohol Content. But with senior citizens, you can't get any more specific than "impairment levels".