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Dodge Dogs a visionary Guide Dogs marketing tool

A new mobile game designed as a fun and innovative way to raise youth awareness of a leading Queensland charity has been developed by a student team at Bond University.

Available for free downloading in the Apple App Store, ‘Dodge Dogs’ is an arcade game where players become the trainer of their own Guide Dog puppy and teach it to avoid rolling balls and collect treats for doing a good job.

The App also allows users to donate or support Guide Dogs Queensland via a link in the App – a first for an Australian charity game.

Developed over a 14 week period by Bond University Interactive Media and Design Degree students Jeremy Orr, Steve Kuiken and Mario Media, ‘Dodge Dogs’ is fast gaining traction in the social media world with around 3,500 downloads recorded since it launched.

Guide Dogs Queensland General Manager of Fundraising Glen Allen-Ankins welcomed the new approach to attract a younger audience to the Guide Dogs cause.

“The App is all about fun and entertainment to appeal to the tech-savvy generations,” Mr Allen-Ankins said.

“Through the clever integration of a competitive element that’s linked into the user’s Facebook page, along with a link to the Guide Dogs Queensland website, we believe it has serious potential to raise overall awareness in the community and inspire charitable giving to a worthwhile cause.

“The App adds a new dimension to our marketing and fits perfectly with where we want to head in the future by opening up a totally different sector of the market to Guide Dogs Queensland.

“Using social media and the web is the future for all charities and the team at Bond University met perfectly the brief we outlined for them.”

Bond University’s Professor Penny de Byl said the scenario which led to the development of the App started with Guide Dogs Queensland becoming the “client” for her Mobile Game Design students.

“The students form teams, they are given a brief and then do a pitch to the client,” Dr de Byl said.

“The client then provides feedback and makes comment and the teams build their games and re-present.  Following this, one is selected to proceed.”

The ‘Dodge Dogs’ App requires the player to assist their Guide Dog puppy through avoidance and awareness training.  The player’s puppy is placed in a grassed training area and roams about the area on its own.  As time progresses balls of different sizes are rolled into the training area which the player has to help the puppy avoid.

The player can control where their puppy will walk by tapping on the screen and can control where the balls roll by rotating their device.  Every now and then holes appear in the grass which the player can use to sink the balls that have been rolled into the training area to score points.  Treats are sometimes placed in the training area which the player can collect for a multiplier on their next ball sink by having their Guide Dog puppy walk over them.
The game ends when the puppy has touched three balls.

By incorporating Facebook into the game, players can also post their highest scores to their page, helping raise awareness of Guide Dogs Queensland at the same time.

Dr de Byl said ‘Dodge Dogs’ was similar to the RSPCA ‘Cat affection’ App developed in 2011 by Bond University games student, Saxon Cameron, that went viral and has been downloaded 50,000 times.

“By taking on a client and working towards a specific brief with clearly definable objectives the students are getting a very real life experience that will assist them greatly when they enter the business world post university,” Dr de Byl said.

“Guide Dogs Queensland was looking for an edgy, entertaining and effective marketing tool that reached a totally new audience and Dodge Dogs ticks all those boxes.”

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