A locally-developed video game is being used to help train local service staff on ways to handle sexual assault and harassment situations.

“It’s Your Move” is not a traditional video game; it puts service staff to the test.

The game was developed by graduate student Kenzie Gordon, in partnership with the University of Alberta’s Sexual Assault Centre and the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE).

The game takes the player through three different scenarios, and every choice takes the player down a different path.

In one example, a person on a date asks a bartender for help – but before the two can speak; their conversation is interrupted by the date.

“You kind of have to act on the fly and figure out what to do without the opportunity to plan,” Gordon said.

The program is part of a three hour workshop SACE has been developing over the last 18 months.

“In Edmonton, as far as we know, this is the first program of its kind,” Stephanie Olsen, Head of Major Initiatives and Strategic Partnerships with the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, said. “We’re noticing a huge increase in demand from industry for consultation and training on responding to sexual violence and ultimately preventing it.”

The program launched two weeks ago and The Ranch and Central Social Hall have gone through it.

"The video game was able to provide a situation that you could choose alternative choices that wasn't role playing," Ranch and Central Social Hall co-owner Jesse Kupina said.

The creators hope this program becomes standard training everywhere.

With files from Nicole Weisberg