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Food Fight Game

Food Fight was initially conceived as an computer game but prototyped as a card game. It is designed to teach individuals about foods, nutrition and socio-economic impact of food choices. Food Fight is intended to played within families.  Nutrition education within a classroom is less effective than nutrition education that considers the real experiences of the learners/players.

Preference Cards

Sample set of "Eater" preference cards

The Game

Food Fight game-play revolves around the idea of the “splat.” The objective of the game is to have a player  (the “feeder”) feed another player or the computer (the “eater”) a variety of foods from baby to child to teen to adult (four total rounds of play). If the feeder feeds the eater a food that is disliked, the character literally spits it back at the player – a visceral SPLAT! on the screen.

Initially, the feeder does not know the food preferences, dietary restrictions, and/or allergies of the eater. The eater either creates these preferences themselves before the game begins, or plays with a pre-set Character Preference cards, and may choose to add a variable if they wish. The food preferences/allergies of character may change as the character grows from baby to kid to teen to adulthood.

Success at each level is figuring out what the eater will and can eat, and feeding that eater the right amount of nutritious food and/or socially beneficial food, without providing too many or too few calories and/or spending too much money and/or impacting the environment negatively. The feeder must monitor the effect of their food choices on taste, health, economic and social parameters and must balance the competing priorities. The feeder may end up with a relatively healthy human but living in an unhealthy environment. Too many calories can lead to an overweight teen or adult.

Food Fight Cards

Sample set of Food Cards

The Pedagogy

Research into food and nutrition education shows that learners who are given pragmatic, personal tasks retain far more information about food and nutrition, than those who are lectured about the hypothetical possibilities of limitless food choices. In other words, when people consider their own diets, they are far more likely to integrate nutrition information. Therefore, Food Fight draws from the players own experiences and allows them to make choices based on their own dietary preferences.  In addition, nutritional education theory also shows that when given control over making their own food choices instead of being told what to eat, people are more likely to integrate changes into their diet. Choice and control are key concepts.

Created in collaboration with Elyse Fischer and Karen Schrier as part of TC- Columbia game class.

Topic: Nutrition & Food education
Method: Game
Paper Prototype
Dec 2007

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