‘MEET NUGGET’, THE AWARD-WINNNG MOBILE PHONE GAME TAKING INDIAN TEENS BY STORM
“A teenager’s mobile that doesn’t have Nugget on it has no right to be called a ‘mobile’ at all!” Says Priyanka Chopra
Intrigued? Well, meet Nugget, the award-winning mobile phone game for teenage girls and boys that is taking India by storm. Nugget’s motto is “Jhel mat. Khel.” The aim of the game is for the player to identify those interfering adults who kill their vibe and escape their influence to notch up a fat score. It seeks to create, among its players, a recognition of gender stereotyping and the need to escape the force-field it represents.
Admiration for Nugget does not stop with Priyanka Chopra. With over 1.6 lakh downloads to date and topping the Google Play store charts for a whole week, Nugget is making waves with teenagers across India. The judges at GoaFest 2018 – India’s premier advertising awards show – were no exception, awarding Nugget a bronze in the Mobile Game/App category. The only other winner in this category was Jio KBC, also awarded a bronze.
BBC Media Action, with funding from UNICEF, has developed a multi-platform communication initiative in India to address gender equality among adolescents. The initiative uses a diffusion of innovations approach to reach adolescent boys and girls aged 10-19 years and their parents, in primarily peri-urban geographies. The communication initiative spans multiple outputs, including television drama, radio, IVR content, graphic novels, activity books and a mobile phone game.
245 million adolescents in India represent a huge potential demographic dividend that has a critical role to play in achieving national priorities. Reaching that goal, however, will be impossible without building the confidence and competence of adolescents to focus on their dreams and aspirations. Most adolescents struggle as they make the complex transition from childhood to adulthood, characterised by significant biological, emotional and psychological changes. They lead lives limited by the ‘force-field’ (or lakshmanrekha) of social expectations, where they fail to recognise gender stereotyping, and how that limits their growth and development.
The one thing Enid Blyton would tell you, is that every protagonist needs an antagonist. In the case of our mobile game, our androgynous protagonist, Nugget, has six antagonists who represent the forcefield that circumscribe the lives of adolescents. Users helped us identify and crystallize these antagonists through a human centred design process. Those antagonists who represent various pressure points in an Indian adolescent’s life, have been gamified as Ungly Aunty or Aunty Needle, Tank-jhank Padosi or Nosy Neighbour, Fenku Uncle or Uncle Hyperbole, Show Off Dost or Show Off Pal, Kalesh Bua or Aunt Give-some-grief andChugalkhor Chacha or Unca Snitch. Each character is presented as a stylized arm – one that could crush Nugget – unless the player can help Nugget escape the pressure.
It’s a simple and familiar arcade game that we’ve all played at some stage in our lives. What makes it unique is Nugget’s story about the pressures and the forcefield created by these real and recognisable characters that surround every adolescent.
Nugget is androgynous so that players, irrespective of gender, can identify with the protagonist. The content in the game – both text and audio – is in a conversational blend of Hindi and English that has become lingua franca for urban teens.
Nugget has been developed using a human centred design process. The cast of characters, gameplay, content, have all been designed based on input from users, and everything has been tested with users’ multiple times to ensure the best chance of success.