University of Padova

Happy Farm

Project Description

Happy Farm is an interactive serious game about psychoactive substances; it is addressed mainly to teenagers and youths and its objective is to provide users with possible outcomes of actions about drug assumption in a protected contest joining recreational and educative aspects. Its aim is to capture user’s attention and increase their knowledge about specific aspects of the night life drugs abuse. The world of Happy Farm is represented by different animals, realised in a cartoon style, in order to appear amusing, funny, attractive, and to keep a high motivation to play.

Happy Farm screenshot Happy Farm screenshot
Work Description

The game environment a discotheque, and aims at recreating a typical dancing night. Every character attempts at reproducing as likely as possible teenagers’ typical styles of life, speaking and dressing.

The game starts with the main character, a bull, waiting in his room for a call of his friends to go to the disco. As soon as he agrees about place and time he arrives at the disco and, from the moment on, the game becomes interactive: the player can choose to immediately reach his friend or take something to drink.

Inside the game, different charachters propose the avatar the possibility they drink alcohol or not, and are offered opportunities to accept different kind of substances: ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, LSD, heroine and ketamine. Furthermore, he is also offered the possibility to help a friend down for the loss of his girl-friend or to help pther charachters in similar ways.

The main character of the game is always accompanied, during his night, by two other characters: an angel and a devil which represent, respectively, the positive and the negative aspects of the different choices. These characters have been introduced to help users thinking about their choices and possible consequences.

Players can also use an interactive book describing the substances selected from time to time; the option to check book information is presented every time user can choose to take a drug or not.

Happy Farm screenshot Happy Farm screenshot

The book purpose is to provide information about short period effects of drugs on the body, consequences of the different mixes, legislative aspects, descriptive images and advices for a safer consumption of the substances.

Particular effort has been made to underline not only the physical short period effects of the different substances, but also social and economical ones, since they are often neglected by the traditional preventive and harm reduction tools. A particular attention has been paid to peer consensus or money spent in substances, since younger people interest in these two factors.

The use of technological instruments gives advantages such as scalability, ubiquity, and anonymity hardly feasible by human operators that are often considered as outsiders. The possibility to use the game on mobile phones can be an advantage in the exploitation of the product, considering the great diffusion and importance of this technology in youth communities.

Recently the game has been tested on 43 users (22 girls and 21 boys) at two of the most popular bars of Padua, “Caffè Ti Amo” and “Caffè Parigi”, to verify if the game is appealing and easy to understand. Players were required to fill in a short questionnaire about game usability.


The analysis of the data has revealed a general users’ satisfaction; the in-field study has also suggested possible improvements in some specific areas.

Happy Farm tests at Rototom Sunsplah festival Happy Farm tests at Rototom Sunsplah festival

A new test will be run this summer in Rototom Sunsplash, a reggae festival that will take place near Udine (Italy) between 3rd and 12th of July. A new test will be run next summer in the Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival that will take place near Udine (Italy) July 3-21. . This specific event will allow us to test the game on people arriving from different European countries and with different experiences with drug use.

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