SYDNEY (Reuters) - An earthquake measuring 8.2 on the Richter scale strikes a densely-populated island in the Atlantic, killing and injuring thousands. How would you save lives?
That's the premise of a game application for the iPhone, iPad and iPod devices by the Australian branch of child rights group Save the Children that aims to give players a sense of what aid work is really about.
One screen of "Earthquake Response" requires players to get people -- represented by video game-type icons -- to tents for first aid, water or housing within a certain period of time.
As the clock runs, the number of lives saved or lost adds up, with the screens speeding up as the player advances through the levels.
"It's quite fun to play, it's quite addictive," said Ian Woolverton, a spokesman for "Save the Children" Australia.
"But there's also a serious message embedded into it about what we do in times of emergencies to save the lives of children and their families."
This is provided by information about disaster relief that is flashed between each screen, he said.
So far in 2010 there have been over 80 natural disasters, including the Haiti earthquake that killed 230,000 people and the recent floods in Pakistan that have affected 21 million people, according to the Save the Children Australia website.
Though the game was aimed originally at tech-savvy young people to give them an idea of what relief work involves in a format they would understand, Woolverton said the game can be enjoyed by anyone aged 10 and above.
"The feedback has been that it's fun to play. You become quite focused on trying to save as many lives as you can," he added.
The game is available for free at iTunes.
Reporting by Elaine Lies, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith