Thursday, March 30, 2023

‘Revisiting Reality’: Student-created virtual reality game simulates bystander intervention


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Photos and story by Savannah Meade / MTSU Sidelines

“Revisiting Reality,” an event that took place at Tuesday’s MTBaeWatch, showcased a version of a student-created virtual reality game based around recognizing people at risk for impaired driving and other alcohol-related incidents.

A version of the game presented a filmed scenario of groups of people in a restaurant, all of which were at risk for unsafe practices surrounding alcohol. Some groups in the game, however, planned on combating driving under the influence on their own.

Dialogue in the scene revealed that some people had plans on having a sober designated driver or planning to use a rideshare service. Others planned to switch from drinking alcohol to water for the rest of the night before driving home. At certain points in the game, the player will be able to interact and identify the people who are planning on driving impaired, and the game will give them tips on how to intervene. This could be experienced perhaps in a VR format at some point. To increase the immersion and hammer home the point that the developers of the game are trying to make. There are already great strides being made in VR training. Their advancements could make their way into these kinds of games in the future.

The game was created by MTSU junior and community and public health major Wala Ajaj and Elman Gonzales, a senior majoring in biology. Lisa Schrader, the director of health promotion at MTSU, and Stephanie Dean, an assistant professor of interactive media, were also involved in creating the game.

The game was created thanks to a grant from the Tennessee Highway and Safety office. Ajaj, Gonzales and Schrader came up with the concept, wrote the script and went to Dean to help with the filming and assembly of the game.

Ajaj and Gonzales started working on the game in March of this year and are happy to see people experience it.

“It’s been a long process, but it’s exciting to see the final product,” Gonzales said.

To see a video of what the virtual reality game looks like, visit Dean’s YouTube channel. Viewers can click and drag on the video player to move the camera in the video. The full game can also be played at the Immersive Storytelling Lab in the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building on campus.

To contact news Editor Caleb Revill, email

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