The public health unit in London, Ont. has assigned a team of superheroes and a villain named the evil "Sperminator" the intrepid task of teaching teenagers about safe sex.
The unit has launched a comic-book inspired interactive game on its website called Adventures in Sex City, where teens can test their knowledge of sexual health.
To play, they choose one of the characters: Wonder Vag, Willy the Kid, Power Pap or Captain Condom, then must correctly answer 25 questions about sex to defeat the evil Sperminator, a character with penises for arms.
Shaya Dhinsa, manager of sexual health at the Middlesex-London Health Unit, says staff worked directly with 16 London, Ont., teens aged 16 and 20 to develop a resource that would catch their attention.
"[Teens are]a challenging group to reach in the fact that they're being told what to do - where to go, how to do it, do it, don't do it," she says, adding that the members of the group were eager to learn about sex in a more fun and interactive way. "I think that's where they came up with the idea of an interactive game."
If players get a question wrong, the Sperminator shoots their character with sperm, but if the question is answered correctly, their character uses a "condom shield" to shoot the sperm back at the Sperminator. A "Myths Maniac" also addresses and dispels faulty sexual information teens often hear at school or from friends.
A two-player version of the game is also available, a function that will allow parents to play with their teen.
"It's a launching pad for the discussion," Ms. Dhinsa says, adding that simply directing teens to the game is a perfect way for squeamish parents to broach the subject.
The game begins by saying: "In the dark of the night Sex City is in panic because of the terrible Sperminator, whose sole mission is to infect all citizens with various sexually transmitted infections."
With files from The Canadian Press