Cooper Institute Launches New Gaming/Health Study

The venerable Cooper Institute has a new study underway, and from what I can tell, it’s a bona fide example of health wrapped in learning wrapped in fun wrapped in health. And accidental fun-like feelings again.

The Quest to Lava Mountain is a grant-funded video game that’s professionally rated (“E for everyone”), and for the time being, part of an exclusive study to determine if wellness-themed video games — the sort that involve fueling one’s avatar with fresh foods and such — might actually change the way kids eat and play and think.

Yesterday, when I talked with a bunch of fourth graders who’ve been giving it a long-term test run at the J. Erik Jonsson Community School, I got responses that may as well have been scripted but actually weren’t, to the tune of, “It really changes the way you look at your health and what you eat,” and “It should be nominated for video game of the year,” and your screen-gazing, Nintendo-esque,  “I’m … um. I’m almost  …wait. I’m almost to the next level.” Plus at least one kid has developed a taste for cooked squash in real life.

Here’s the trailer.

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