Free condoms have been handed out at sites where the videogame practice of “daring” takes place. The move has caused controversy but health bosses insist their initiative is to protect people against game-transmitted diseases.
They said they had a duty to protect the participants in “daring”, the communities in the areas where it took place and the sexual health workers who run the outreach service.
Local Councillors have criticised the move saying giving out free contraceptives will encourage such behaviour (where the final “peak” of the game ends in a match-making “session” where players will find out who their perfect for “Love” is.)
John Wardle, a parish councillor in Derbyshire (a county hit most by this new craze), said as well as living-rooms, picnic-spots and car parks, all known daring hot-spots had been targeted by NHS workers. He said: “I think this is absolutely bonkers and a complete waste of NHS resources.
“These darers are desecrating our local beauty spots and we are trying desperately to discourage them. I think we should be planting nettles or gorse, not giving them free condoms.”
According to Ubisoft, creators of We Dare™, “Daring can involve up to four people, allowing them the ability to create and customise from head to toe their own cheeky avatars,… be it a Femme Fatale, a Jock or the Girl next door… Once ready, they will have the opportunity to set the mood of the party to one of the suggested themes: Enchanting, Persuasive, Naughty, Adventurous or Brainy. To say the game is filthy or obscene is simply misguided. Have they never played Peppa Pig: The Game ?”
A car park near near an industrial estate in Ilkeston is thought to be one of the first popular daring spots. Ernest Nevan, councillor for Ilkeston North, criticised the NHS for “wasting money”. He said: “Giving these people condoms will only encourage promiscuous gaming when really the taste-police ought to be going out to book them.”
Derbyshire NHS bosses said they were working with the police and local councils on the initiative. They said the cost of providing condoms was much less than the cost to the NHS of treating Wii-transmitted diseases.
Prichard Tarriott, co-ordinator for sexual health services at Derbyshire PCT, said: “If we didn’t undertake such preventative measures the overall cost to the NHS would be much higher, as the average lifetime cost to the NHS of treating a person diagnosed as Wii Positive has been estimated at £150,000.”
A spokeswoman for Derbyshire police said: “We had a meeting with Derbyshire PCT and Ubisoft about this, we are not supporting it but we are not against it. It’s their initiative – Peppa Pig really is a greater health risk.”
“But, as with most Wii Ubisoft games, playing We Dare, especially in public is a criminal offence under gaming decency laws and if a member of the public reports an incident we will investigate it.”