ADRIFT on iOS Makes Learning About Trust and Consent Easy

ADRIFT: a game about consent, is a sci-fi adventure that is both engaging and entertaining for kids of all ages. The lessons in the game are presented in a way that people from almost any age group can learn the importance of consent. This short, but educational, game is great for a class project about consent beginning with elementary school children without having to directly speak to them about sex. Let’s talk about the ways ADRIFT makes learning about consent easy for all ages on IOS devices.

Listening To Your Partner

One of the most important lessons that are brought up in ADRIFT is the importance of listening and communicating with your partner about what you are both feeling. Many times in this game the in-game computer that the player is interacting with will let you know what actions you can take in order to escape the failing space station; it’s up to you whether you listen or not. If you decide to listen to your partner then you will end up with the good ending but if you don’t choose to listen to your partner the ending will be bad and will leave the main character filled with guilt.

If you decide to listen to your partner then you will end up with the good ending but if you don’t . . .

Part of this experience is trusting the computer “character” to correctly show you how to proceed in the game without doing anything that would harm them. For example, if you ignore the computer’s instructions and power the wrong part of the ship then the computer will open the door – but will also experience a great deal of “pain.” This also lessens the computer’s ability to make the last part of your escape easy by providing a lighted path through a dark room. This reminds the player that consent is not limited to romantic relationships but applies to friendships as well. ADRIFT helps teach children to respect their peers at a fundamental level and to use these skills to effectively communicate their own needs to others.

. . . consent is not limited to romantic relationships but applies to friendships as well . . .

The game is also easily accessible to parents of children who want to start teaching their child about consent. The game is a free download in the iOS App Store making it very easy for anyone who wants to try ADRIFT out. The game also doesn’t take up a ton of space making it perfect to fit on iOS devices with smaller storage space. We do recommend that your child have a decent amount of basic reading skills to really enjoy the game as the story is text-based instead of being voiced-over.

ADRIFT in Real Life

Students: although in the real world you’re likely not going to get trapped in a space station with a talking computer (at least not yet!) but you might be in a project with a friend who has certain needs that are different from yours. By learning to understand each other’s needs and to respect each other’s boundaries students will be better prepared to handle the trials and temptations they might confront in adolescence through peer pressure, romantic relationships, and other situations impacting consent.

Educators: ADRIFT is also a great way to easily introduce an older classroom to the topic of consent without beginning with some of the more serious aspects of consent. This affords educators the opportunity to gradually and organically work with their students on the fundamental issues about consent before moving onto some of its more serious applications like dating abuse. Educators will also appreciate that the game’s publisher, nonprofit charity Jennifer Ann’s Group, has made this game 100% free to provide a free resource to teachers in order to encourage classroom use of this consent game.

Parents: as public discourse about consent becomes more mainstream parents are becoming increasingly aware of the need to talk with their children about consent from an early age. ADRIFT offers a perfect way to begin that first conversation with their child because of the child-friendly treatment of consent in this clever innovative game. ADRIFT is rated as appropriate for players ages 4+.

Developed by: Quinn Crossley and Andrew Connell
Produced by: Jennifer Ann's Group
Price: Free
Language: English
Age Rating: Rated 4+

More information about ADRIFT
ADRIFT: a game about consent, on the iTunes Store
Play ADRIFT: a game about consent, in your browser
Watch a video trailer about ADRIFT: a game about consent

A video game about consent: Crossing Boundaries

Crossing Boundaries is a travel game for teenagers

When you’re trying to properly teach consent it becomes a little difficult to get the point across without using some form of media to help you. The games produced by Jennifer Ann’s Group are great for forming an easy, and open, source of communication about consent for kids and young adults. Today we will be looking at Crossing Boundaries, a game for teenagers that can also be quite resourceful for college-age students. The game takes you through quite a few situations in which you learn about different approaches to many situations and the various ways that consent is important.

Crossing Boundaries combines a travel game with important scenarios about consent.

Travelling the World

Crossing Boundaries is all about three friends who recently got out of school. To celebrate this they have saved up some money and decided to travel the world together. The two characters Eva and Alice bring along their friend Joe who doesn’t always think his decisions through. Thanks to Joe, and missing their plane early on, the friends get into quite a bit of trouble on their adventure across the world. The game also incorporates a cute mini-game with some fun mechanics to drive home the themes of consent even more throughout the game.

“Snog a Frog” is the game-within-a-game you will play along with the game’s characters

Even if it’s something like trying to force someone to try a new food, “no means no!”

My very favorite thing about Crossing Boundaries is that it’s about more than just sexual consent. It delves into the fact that every person has their own will and no one has a right to try and go against it. One of the main driving points that popped up in the game is that you can’t make choices for another person’s body. For example, Joe decides on his own to sign his friends up for a perfume testing project that could potentially harm them, because “there weren’t many spots left.” As the game clearly shows, the issue of consent extends beyond the realm of dating and sex to include anything that affects your personal space, will, or body.

The game also had choices you could make for each situation that popped up. There were multiple choices to each situation and it’s up to you to choose how you react. It presented the fact that every circumstance has multiple paths you can follow, with multiple positive reactions to choose from. It also showed that standing up to someone may not always be as well received as you hope.

Humans are complicated in their emotions and when they are put into an uncomfortable situation they may not be thinking straight or know how to properly react to someone that’s trying to pressure them. The game shows Joe’s growth and through his growth shows how positive actions can affect those around you, helping them become better people.

You Can’t Script a Real Situation

I really think that Crossing Boundaries helps prove the point that there’s not always one way to react to a situation. Each problem you encounter in life is unique and you will have to react in a way you feel comfortable with. The game also makes a point that just because someone doesn’t say no or run away, that isn’t ground for assuming they’re okay with a situation. All in all, everyone has a right to decide what they feel comfortable with doing in their life. Even if it’s something like trying to force someone to try a new food, “no means no!”

Play Crossing Boundaries

Developed by: Testudo Games
Produced by: Jennifer Ann's Group
Price: Free
Language: English
Age Rating: Rated 12+

More information about Stuck in a Dark Place
Get Crossing Boundaries on the iTunes Store
Crossing Boundaries available at Amazon
Play Crossing Boundaries in your browser
Watch a video trailer about Crossing Boundaries

How to Blorrble Blobble

How to Blorrble-Blobble illustrates how games can be more than mere entertainment as this fun game about learning to dance teaches young people about consent at the same time.

Games are more than mere entertainment

A lot of games try to tell a story using few words. Others, they may tell their story using way too many.

How to Blorrble Blobble is a free game produced by the nonprofit group Jennifer Ann’s Group

With the former, it is not the easiest thing to properly communicate what you want people to take from it. You run the risk of your audience not seeing the point, or worse, getting the wrong point altogether. The former is certainly not good, but the latter can create the wrong (or even perhaps negative) interpretation of your work.

How to Blorbble Blobble handles this kind of game pretty well.

Video games can make you feel a certain way with wordless prowess, making you do things that may make you uncomfortable.

There are several ways to communicate through an interactive medium. The most common is through text and dialogue, unsurprisingly given that most stories are expressed that way. I personally feel that this is not the best way to do this in video games. It is not a bad way to do it, by any means. Most of my favorite video game stories are expressed through this way, after all. But some of my favorites in turn take great advantage of an interactive medium’s inherent advantages.

Video games can make you feel a certain way with wordless prowess, making you do things that may make you uncomfortable. For example, The Walking Dead games, while dealing with a character/dialogue-driven story, also evokes certain emotions by making players make hard decisions, such as whether to spare someone who had “done you wrong.”

So many options … which will Triangle Boy choose?

How to Blorrble Blobble

How to Blorrble Blobble focuses specifically on putting you into a real-world situation. ‘Blorbble-Blobble,’ or ‘Blorrbling‘ as the narrator/instructor calls it, has you following a strict ruleset when initiating the dance with another partner. You get to play as either Triangle Girl or Triangle Boy, and are walked through the game step by step, with the first step straight up having you seek out a partner with whom to dance.

Triangle Boy meets Disco Girl

Once you find a partner (Disco Girl or Disco Boy) you then are taught various procedures of Blorbbling. The first proper step is to greet them (after all, it is just polite). Once you greet your new Disco friend, you can ask them if they want to dance. Following this, they will either accept it or reject it. If they do reject it, you then have to respect that and back off.

It’s a delicate balancing act between respecting someone’s agency and respecting that someone under the influence can’t properly consent…

If they do decide to dance with you, you then have different protocols to follow. When you obtain consent, you can then give your partner a high five dance. After this, you then can move onto the fist bump – but not before asking if they want to continue dancing though. Consent may be revoked at any time, and this is both normal and okay.

This rule applies also to belly bumping, the final dance step. However, just because someone appears to consent does not necessarily mean that they are able to consent. At times, you may see that your prospective partner does not actually have the wherewithal to give consent. It’s a delicate balancing act between respecting someone’s agency and respecting that someone under the influence can’t properly consent to things.

Bumping bellies in How to Blorrble Blobble

My thoughts on How to Blorrble Blobble

If this seems like this game is trying to convey something other than dancing, you would be correct. It uses cute styles and cute concepts (high fiving is not exactly the most traditional dance move), but in reality, the basic rules of consent being discussed here correspond to sex and romance as much as it relates to dancing. This fact is conveyed to the player near the end of the game by Orca (although I did not feel that it needed much in the way of explanation).

Lessons like this from Orca are helpful – especially for those who’ve never been taught consent!

The player is also reminded about their own consent. When the player’s Triangle dance partner abruptly leaves Orca reminds the player that they can also disengage from Blorrbling whenever they so choose. If there is one thing that I particularly would like to see however would be to have your choice of character to not be based on a gender binary, and to instead name Triangle Girl/Boy and Disco Girl/Boy as “Triangle” and “Disco.”

The game has an interesting and funky art and musical style, evoking a 70s style. Whenever you initiate actions (such as asking for consent or dancing), you get a special little audio jingle to go along with it that makes the experience a little more active and transformative. The gameplay is simple rule-following, with not too much deviation.

I would have liked to been able to do different dance steps out of order, or even skip certain dance steps altogether, much in the same way that a sexual encounter does not require that you necessarily follow the same steps every time, or the same steps in order. The game conveyed this issue somewhat, as at one point you can choose to put belly bumping as the next step instead of fist bumping, but it resulted in the game soft-locking (thankfully it saves your progress up to that point). An expansion on the concepts to explore consent in a greater degree would be much appreciated, but How to Blorrble Blobble is already an interesting means by which to explore consent as-is.

Play How to Blorrble Blobble

Developed by: Jared Sain
Produced by: Jennifer Ann’s Group
Price: Free
Language: English
Age Rating: Appropriate for all ages

More information about How to Blorrble Blobble


For Sexual Assault Awareness Month a Video Game about Consent: ADRIFT

ADRIFT is a free game about consent appropriate for all ages.

Consent is something that comes in many different forms. It can be something as adult as sexual consent or simply respecting someone else’s personal space. No matter what though, when you ask to do something with someone, you should always have their consent. This can be a difficult concept to teach to children and you may not even know how to go about it successfully. This is where the game ADRIFT comes in to assist you when teaching younger children all about the do’s and don’ts of consent!

In ADRIFT the player plays as a space miner exploring an abandoned spaceship.

Playing ADRIFT

ADRIFT is a very simple game that can be easily understood by a child of reading age. The game has you play as an astronaut who is a member of a space salvage crew that encounters a derelict ship in deep space. You are tasked with retrieving the abandoned ship’s valuable artificial intelligence (AI). The game play takes place on the abandoned ship where you are completely alone aside from the AI who offers to guide you through the ship to safety. The only deal is you are going to have to listen to your newfound partner in order for the mission to go smoothly. The game has some puzzle aspects to it but they are completely simple as long as you are careful to read your partner’s instructions. If you try to rush through the game or wander off on your own then things might go badly.

The player must respect consent in order to successfully proceed.

The concept to make it to the end is easy. Just access the ship’s AI through the computer terminals found throughout the ship before every action. By doing this, you will learn the proper steps to take to get through the ship. If you don’t follow the directions properly your screen will blink red. The AI will also become less trusting of you the more you decide you want to do things on your own without checking with it for approval. It is very easy to look over some information, so be sure to have your little ones pay close attention to the AI as each line it says contains important information.

If you want to teach consent well, you can do two playthroughs. The first you can let your kids go through the game as they wish. This will show them that not respecting consent has consequences that might affect their relationships. The game helpfully provides a recap after the game ends that shows where consent was – and was not – followed during the game.

Afterwards, get them to play through again to positively show them the difference it makes when consent is respected. It makes the space miner’s job much easier and at the end they will also see that the AI has a much better attitude towards them.

The end-of-game summary will show you when you failed to properly respect consent

Real World Applications

The information presented in the game can be easily applied to many real world situations. For example, if a child has a friend and they ignore their friend’s wishes by playing tricks on them against their will that friend might eventually distance themselves from the child.

Respecting consent is just as important in growing trust between people as is being there for them. Without listening to someone’s personal wishes and respecting their feelings, we are setting ourselves up to lose a potential partner or friend.

ADRIFT makes a point to show two paths that the player can choose with the ship’s AI. By simply listening to the AI’s wishes and respecting those wishes they forge a lasting friendship while successfully navigating the ship’s interior to escape and win the game.

Play ADRIFT, a game about consent

Developed by: Quinn Crossley and Andrew Connell
Produced by: Jennifer Ann's Group
Price: Free
Language: English
Age Rating: Rated 4+

More information about ADRIFT
Get ADRIFT on the iTunes Store
Play ADRIFT in your browser
Watch a video trailer about ADRIFT