Racing game meant to encourage 16-year-olds to vote

Government targets teenagers on social media through the launch of a racing game

The government is targeting teenagers voting for the first time in the local councils election through a racing game launched on social media.

The #FirstTime game – part of a wider campaign targeting 16 to 18-year-olds – is supposedly meant to encourage teenagers to vote in the upcoming council elections.

Some 4,600 teenagers will be eligible to vote in the 11 April elections.

Although there are no political messages behind the game – or an explanation on the importance of voting – the application attempts to reach out to youths “by speaking their language”.

“We want to engage first-time voters in a way they understand. It’s useless talking to them about politics if you don’t speak their language. The objective is to target and engage 16-year-olds,” a team member from the FirstTime campaign said.

A competition is meant to make the game more attractive: the three finalists will each win a tablet while those placing between the fourth and 50th position will get a cinema ticket.

The game allows users to choose between three colours, unsurprisingly coloured red (PL), blue (PN) and green (AD). It requires users to enter their name, email and ID number.

Before the racing begins, users are asked to choose between a tunnel or a bridge connecting Gozo to Malta.

The more laps users cover, the higher the points. The race passes through the localities where council elections will be held, with billboards on the side advertising the 11 April elections and the right to vote. Users going fast to cover as many laps as possible will simply ignore these billboards.

“The aim is not to push political messages but to use social media to reach out to first time voters. It’s an innovative way of engaging people and to remind them that they now too have the opportunity to vote. It is then up to them to decide how they want to vote,” the team member said.

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