Can games bring real social change?

Screenshot from the game

Screenshot from Fitter Critters

I’m thrilled to unveil “Fitter Critters”, a video game designed to teach 9-to-12-year-olds healthier eating habits.  I developed this game in collaboration with a brilliant team* as an entry to “Apps for Healthy Kids”, a contest sponsored by the USDA and Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign.  The contest explores the potential for games to bring about meaningful social change, an idea of which I’m a proponent.

Our game combines principles of user experience design and game design, and plays like a mashup of Farmville, The Sims, and Animal Crossing.  It has a strong educational mission (complete with a unit plan for teachers) and aims to persuade kids to change the way they eat.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be periodically blogging about how we built it and the objectives underlying the design.

In the meantime, please feel free to give it a try; I’d love to get your feedback.  If you find it interesting and enjoyable, consider giving it your vote on the contest website!  You can access the game at:

Have fun!

* I would be terribly remiss if I didn’t express my deep appreciation to Andrew Karetas, Bri Lance, Jim Chiponis, and Amanda Ferrara for their work developing the game.

I’m thrilled to publicly unveil “Fitter Critters[http://www.appsforhealthykids.com/application-gallery/fitter-critters]”, a video game designed to teach 9-to-12-year-olds healthier eating habits.  I developed this game in collaboration with a brilliant team* as an entry into “Apps for Healthy Kids”, a contest sponsored by the USDA and Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign.  The contest explores the potential for games to bring about real social change, an idea of which I’m a proponent.

Our game combines principles of user experience design and game design, and plays like a mashup of Farmville, The Sims, and Animal Crossing.  It has a strong educational mission (complete with a unit plan for teachers[http://www.fittercritters.com/guides.html]) and aims to persuade kids to change the way they eat.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be periodically blogging about how we built it and the objectives underlying the design.

In the meantime, please feel free to give it a try; I’d love to get your feedback.  If you find it interesting and enjoyable, consider giving it your vote on the contest website!  You can access the game at:

* I would be terribly remiss if I didn’t express my deep appreciation to Andrew Karetas, Bri Lance, Jim Chiponis, and Amanda Ferrara for their work developing the game.

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