Stop Disasters


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Rating: 4.5/5 (39 votes)
| Comments (24) | Views (488)

stopdisasters.gifAdamBStop Disasters, a flash game created by playerthree, is one of those games you could easily dismiss before even launching it. However, the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction group has not drenched their game in messages and important life lessons that we all should follow (lest tragedy befall us all). Instead we get a game which is easy to pick up, figure out and get in to, but hard enough to challenge and reward not only planning but learning about successful planning.

In any of the five scenarios you are given (more to come), you are dropped into a portion of the world susceptible to the kind of Natural Disaster about to strike the unknowing inhabitants. Fortunately, using your God-like pre-eminence, you know there will be a disaster occurring soon and it's up to you to use logic, strategy and a little bit of trial and error (Rome wasn't destroyed and rebuilt in a day, you know) to save the town as best you can.

Given a budget for your town, you are to use education and any number of local initiatives to stop or minimise damage caused by the disaster. For example, in the flood scenario, install drainage, cover the wells and plant trees and mangroves. In the bush fire scenario, clear dry foliage from near housing, plant trees with higher natural water levels and instruct citizens to move their flammables away from their houses, etc..

In whatever scenario you choose, there are sure to be events which you do not anticipate or that you feel you could do better in. Returning to the scene again (each with three difficulties and each increasing the size of your town) will ensure the ability to better yourself and your own knowledge of how to prevent or protect yourself should you find yourself in one of these situations.

Analysis: There are a few drawbacks in this game, however, such as the controls. Most of the time they work well, but its the actual looking around and movements on the map which is quite cumbersome with the corner only directional controls. Though with a bit of practice, they do turn out to be usable.

The main focus of the game is, and I quote, "If we teach them [children] from the early age about the risks posed by natural hazards, children will have a better chance to save their lives during disasters". That alone makes it worth at least a cursory play. I found myself learning and re-adapting what I learned in the game to better my own high score and in the mean time saving lives and property. I can imagine children (of a certain age) doing the same, as well.

KarmenI also found the scrolling interface awkward to use, especially when surveying the scene after a disaster. In those cases, some objects which appear along the edge of the scene appear to go up in smoke. The bugs weren't limited to scrolling issues, however. Building a wood hut in a certain spot in one of the scenarios gave me an unlimited budget, yet I still lost, in the end.

In some ways, the game is successful in informing the player about preparing for natural disasters. It highlights the effectiveness of some simple measures, such as educating citizens, preparing evacuation drills, or maintaining natural protections such as wetlands and coral reefs. These simple steps invariably lead to more success than more costly solutions, both in the game, and the real world.

Unfortunately, unlike the real world, the game doesn't offer much feedback on the effectiveness of your choices. After the disaster, you are only given a snapshot overview of the results (and a buggy one, at that.) There is no way to find out how one area or building fared, or how much impact the individual defenses you built had.

Even the catastrophe, as it unfolds, seems to lack in cataclysm. If you arrange for an evacuation drill, and invoke it in time, the figures on the screen continue to stand in the same place. (It would be nice if they moved around at all.) This can be a dull minute, especially if you've already spent your allotted budget. Once the disaster hits, there is minimal sound. The small amount of drama that does play out is difficult to track, due to the scrolling issue.

Overall, it's a respectable effort to combine education with casual game play, but it could stand a little more attention to detail, in order to achieve this goal. When it comes to sharing knowledge which can save lives, we'd like it to be a memorable experience.

Play Stop Disasters

Cheers to Wouter and Zengief for sending this one in!

24 Comments

This is an interesting game..
The tsunami one is tricky for me. >__

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As long as it's not by FEMA you should be ok... badum-tish!

Actually, I feel really embarrassed - I'm Australian and know heaps of people who pretty much live slap in the middle of fire territory, and I failed dismally. This is partly due to only starting to "get" what I was supposed to be doing halfway through building houses, etc. d'oh!

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It's pretty fun game. The earthquake scenario is really hard!

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I love games like these, but I found this one difficult to play. It was very hard to move around and very sloooow to do so too. If you could move with your mouse it would be faster. Also I found that there were a few squares in corners and along edges that you couldn't do anything to.

On the whole a good game though! I'll have to try the other scenarios. (I played the aussie wildfire one)

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You can move around the map more quickly if you use the mini-map at the bottom of the screen.

Meh, the game got really boring for some parts, and the evacuation minute you have ends up feeling really long.

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Not being able to get to squares screwed me over in the wildfire one- everything was protected except on those edges I couldn't get to, and I didn't want to demolish houses. Movement needs to be fixed, otherwise good game.

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Interesting game - could be more user-friendly in places (why can't you upgrade all of the houses in one go on the hurricane level if there's budget rather than do them one by one?)

On the bush fire level (at difficulty easy) I managed to finish with no deaths, no casaulties and no costs at all, but still failed the level - anyone else had this?

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i just can't get the game to work... *pouts* i mean, it won't load

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The game won't load for me too.
I've tried on Internet Explorer and on Mozilla Firefox, and it just gets stuck loading

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I just tested it, and it loaded for me. But it took a while. Be patient. I think perhaps their servers are experiencing a lot of traffic which could cause delays in loading.

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dale_fan3 March 16, 2007 3:30 PM

It loaded fine for me on Firefox, but the tsunami level map won't load, it just looks like a blank screen.

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Ok, complaint: just because I didn't proof one of the watertowers in the Australian scenario, I failed, even though no one died and there was no property damage. How does that make sense? I missed a tower, apparently (although I don't know where) but they were all protected and none were damaged. Minorly irritating, I had a high score too.

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Hmm...Most of these, even on the easy level, seemed just a bit hard. Then there was the Wildfire scenario, which was so easy that it was boring.

However, this game is very entertaining, and if I'm ever acting as a budgeted god in one of these areas, I'll know what to do.

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Need to scroll better, and upgrade large amounts of things at a time

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Guys, look at the overview in the top left corner. If you don't complete all goals given, you fail the level.

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The flood level totaly busted me. I forgot that on the risk menu, red came after pink, so I barely protected those and lost big time. They need a better color code.

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MakibishiMan September 9, 2007 6:09 PM

That's stupid. The wildfire never started and everything was OK. Nobody died, Nobody Injured, No Houses Lost. Yet, I get an F. Pure stupity.

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Mike Hazard November 2, 2007 9:39 AM

Here's a cool idea for a disaster level:
How about a nuclear disaster from a nearby plant meltdown or terrorist plot? Or a biohazard disaster from a chemical factory or train derailment?

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the wildfire was to easy lol but i couldn't get the earthquake though i got 0 in all things

for the wildfire just burn down a lot of trees don't bother to do upgrades just make sher to go all round and then go though the place and put fire resistind
trees around buildings

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idea: combo disasters. ex. earthquake causes fire, earthquake and tsunami. add more disasters NOW!

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Mickey Mouse November 12, 2008 9:02 PM

I love this game. I beat it on hard on every disaster. Too easy.

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TheAdmiral Author Profile Page March 1, 2009 10:42 AM

I can't help but think how incredibly awesome this would be if they either added a scenario for helping a community survive a zombie outbreak, or if someone made a game built around that premise.

"Issue Zombie Survival Training"
"Barricade doors and windows"
"Establish evacuation routes"

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I like this game. It's really good but the earthquake and flood I can't do. When are they gonna make more disasters like... stopping your city from being destroyed by meteors like in sim city

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Want unlimited money in the earthquake disasters?

You will notice that in the map, there is a little river going through. So here's how to get infinity cash.
1.On the minimap, drag the square as SouthEast as you can.
2.There will be a few ocean squares which say "undefined". Go to defences-->seismic sensors and build.
Your remaining cash will say $NaN, and you have the option to start the disaster because it thinks you have no money left, but in reality you have unlimited money!

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