Help USDA Design a Web game for Success

Last week we posted a call for feedback on the OSTP Blog for an effort to design a game helping kids learn about healthy food choices.

We’ll be accepting comments until January 6, and I hope you can share thoughts, experience and specific lessons learned for this type of effort.

Specifically, we’re asking for feedback on the following questions:

1. Target Audience. The Challenge will have a special focus on tweens, an age-group where there is great potential for creative nutrition games to have a high-impact. Members of this age group are still defining sense of self, including health behaviors, and at the same time are beginning to comprehend how their actions may have an impact later in life. In addition, digital technology is already highly-integrated into tweens’ lives. Finally, from a nutrition-messaging standpoint, dietary recommendations are the most consistent for 9-12 year olds, thereby providing clear guidance for game developers. Beyond tweens, are there other age-groups to which the contest should direct attention?

2. Timeline. How long should the contest be? Three months? One year? What timeline is reasonable to develop a meaningful educational game that is attractive, engaging, and effective for children? How might the timeline impact who participates (e.g. professional developers versus graduate students)?

3. Criteria for Success. We care about moving the needle on child nutrition. In order to achieve this goal, what technical parameters should be established to ensure broad access to the final product? By what metrics should submissions be judged? And who should decide?

4. Outreach. We hope to encourage up-and-coming gamers or developers to participate in the challenge. What are the best ways to reach and inspire college and graduate students on and off campus?

Have something to add? Share your thoughts on the OSTP Blog here.

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Andrew Krzmarzick

Hi Amanda – I shared this post with my wife (who just obtained a degree in nutrition). She’s got the wheels turning and may reach out to her network to see if they can provide some feedback.

Recommend you check out Metro Star Systems, who have done some gaming work for State Department. Lovisa Williams could be a good contact at State.


1 –

2 – Timeline should be 3 months. You have to give people time but too much time and they forget about it.

3 – Perhaps judges. Kid judges. Citizens

4 – I’d go to the nutrition blogs/communities that exist. And some developer communities (like Sunlights)