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Tunnel Tail

(iOS/Android game, 10 person team, 1 year)


Tunnel Tail is a completely free RPG for iOS/Android. A burrow of intelligent mice approach the player, needing that player's help to drive back a corrupting force that seeks to control all mice and humans in the world.


Schell Games was approached by the BEST Foundation/Drug Strategies (two non-profit groups whose mission is to identify and promote more effective approaches to substance abuse).


These organizations wanted Schell Games to develop a proposal for a game that would more effectively educate 11-13 years olds about substance abuse and resistance strategies.


I created a pitch for a light RPG that, first and foremost, needed to be engaging and fun for its target audience. From there, I designed a game that focused on 'incidental learning,' where subtle messages about substance abuse, peer pressure, and resistance strategies were embedded in the game's mechanics and story.


BEST Foundation/Drug Strategies agreed with our pitch and awarded Schell Games the project.

Tunnel Tail


NOTE (December 2014):The BEST Foundation has since dissolved, and Tunnel Tail has been acquired by Yale University's play2PREVENT Lab. More information about this can be found here.


As part of this change-over, the game has been removed from the iOS/Android app stores until the transfer to Yale is complete.


Tunnel Tail

Combat acts a metaphor for real-world social situations. Enemies take the form of shadowy demonic creatures (that represent internal pressures like self-doubt) and other mice (that represent external pressures like peers and loved ones).


Tunnel Tail

Players recruit a team of mice that they can send on missions throughout the real world (locations include homes, schools, locker rooms, etc)


Tunnel Tail

Characters use powers (associated with dialogue statements/responses) that can affect the 'Tension' level of a battle, making some powers/statements more effective.


Awards & Attention


2013 Silver Medal Winner, International Serious Play Awards


Finalist at the 2012 Serious Games Challenge


Runner-up for overall best digital game at Meaningful Play 2012.


Studies & Research


Tunnel Tail: A New Approach to Prevention


Deirdre Witan's research (hired by Drug Strategies to evaluate the impact of the game on its players)