Thursday, January 05, 2006

Gaming off the Hershey's Kiss

Today, a few activities converged into another game scoring idea:

  1. In talking with a nutrition researcher at Purdue (we're partnering on the project) about seeking grants to prevent obesity through game play, she encouraged us to make nutrition education an objective of game play as well. Imagine a game where you not only physically move to control game play, but control what your character eats in the process, thus learning the energy in - energy out balance.
  2. I burned 375 calories dancing to "In the Groove" DDR game tonight. In fitness mode, it tells you how you are doing at hitting the right steps (I'm not very good, incidentally), but it also shows with every step (even the wrong ones) the calories you are burning. I noticed immediately that the jumps burned more calories than the single steps, and when a complex set of steps came up that I fumbled, I made sure I jumped the wrong steps two at a time, rather than simply step them wrong one at a time. It was inspirational to see my calories burned climbing, even though I was only a "decent" dancer.
  3. We reviewed the interface on our In and Out O Meter interactive tool as part of the project today. The concept is that the user can pick a food (say, cheeseburger") and then pick the activity (like "washing the car") and see how many minutes she would have to wash the car to burn off the food.

Here's the idea: a DDR or other game that allows you to:

  1. Enter what you ate today. It would total up the calories, fat, etc (also helping user read and use nutrition labels)
  2. Provide activities to do with the dance mat (dancing or otherwise) and provide compelling game play and motivation
  3. Show a running total of calories burning while you are moving
  4. Check items off the list of what you ate as you move. Imagine seeing those Hershey's Kisses you ate on the drive home just get scratchd off your list while moving and grooving.

There are some great ways to create lifestyle changes through gameplay... increasing activity and conveying knowledge.


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