A groundbreaking exer-game created to both instruct in nutrition and encourage youth to exercise. The game instructs 2nd through 10th graders about nutrition and the UDSA MyPlate icon. It gets them out of their seats and performing short exercises in order to help a foundling Alien save our planet from an asteroid. Players received practice on rapid decision making that will serve them well when they must make quick choices about which food item to grab in a cafeteria line or at a convenience store.
There are three levels :
Level 1 – Students make choices about which of two foods are healthier and place the items in the Alien’s mouth. As the Alien metabolizes the food, players must dance, jump and exercise to help him!
Level 2 – Now, students make choices about “nonfoods” (foods found in the Alien’s backpack). These made-up foods force students to pay attention
to each item’s nutrient profile. The hypothesis is that with repeated, fun practice students will begin to think though the nutrients they place in their own mouths.
Level 3 – Students build a healthy lunch with six items, they see how each item maps dynamically to portions on the My Plate Icon. In every level, the Kinect sensor can be used to give feedback on the quality of all exercises. The game can be used for an entire class or as a station for pairs of students.
The EGL lab won the prestigious ASU Obesity Solutions Challenge Grant to create a commercialized version of the game with a Spanish translation (projected release July 2014).
Research Results In 2013 a randomized controlled trial study was conducted with 20 7th graders who were randomly assigned to either the Alien Health game condition or a game-like control condition without the short aerobic activities. A nutrition knowledge test was administered at three time points: pretest, immediate posttest, and at 2 week follow-up. The groups did not differ in a statistically significant manner at immediate post test, but by the follow-up test the Alien Health group had RETAINED the nutrition information better than the control group.
More research We have published more research on a Mixed Reality version of the game created for the SMALLab environment. Click here for article in the prestigious Games for Health Journal The appendix includes the Nutrition test.
Below is the short 3 minute video
Below is the short 8 minute video
To learn more about SMALLab click here
To see an interview with the game designer, Dr. Johnson-Glenberg click here Then click on VIDEO Link on right see game played.
Below we offer the Pre-Alpha version for those who wish to give feedback.
Recommended steps for Teachers:
1) Read Quick Start (under construction)
2) Watch 8 minute Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyv9tkg2Ncc
3) Practice levels first with a friend (you need a second body!) before showing to your students
4) Administer Nutrition Test if desired. The test is in the appendix of the Games for Health (2013) article http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/g4h.2013.0057 or contact the EGL lab for a copy.
5) Link to full instruction packet (under construction, email lab)
The game was created at ASU and rights are owned by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) which is the state's governing arm for the public universities. Embodied Games for Learning, LLC is sole licensee and distributor of the Alien Health game.
We thank multiple talents: Mina Johnson-Glenberg, Chris Dean, Tatyana Koziupa, Ben Luke, Hue Henry and the original graphic artist Sean Griffin (Sean Griffin firstname.lastname@example.org)
In addition, we thank Maureen Zimmerman at Mesa Community College, Dr. Eric Heckler at ASU, Ken Koontz, Eric Clark, and Clockwork Plan for this implementation (http://www.clockworkplan.com/)