Anti-obesity public service ad from the U.K.
Anti-obesity public service ad from the U.K.

Last month, the British government’s Department of Health released this public service announcement.

In response, the videogame news publication MCV lodged an official complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority and drummed up outraged responses from Codemasters, Konami, Sega and Atari as well as the gaming industry body ELSPA.

According to a report by MCV, Sony was even threatening to sue because no permission was sought to use a PlayStation pad.

The ASA also received 25 complaints from members of the public. 25 out of of 60 million people.

So, to avoid any potential lawsuits, the ad was scrapped….

…and replaced with this new anti-obesity government ad.

In this commercial, the animated Change4Life family find ways to get their kids to be active for 60 minutes per day.

Solutions include playing videogames that require physical exertion – think Dance Dance Revolution – as well as walking to school and playing in the park.

But, despite the angle being pushed by this new campaign, the TV ad could still anger the games industry. In an opening scene, one of the characters, voiced by a young girl, is seen doing sedentary activities such as playing an “inactive” video game.

And we wouldn’t want to make the video games industry mad, would we?

Pathetic.

We are so afraid of lawsuits that we can’t say that: KIDS WHO SPEND HOURS PLAYING VIDEO GAMES ARE MORE LIKELY TO GET FAT THAN KIDS WHO DON’T PLAY VIDEO GAMES FOR HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS.

There, I said it.

Bring it on video game companies, bring it on.

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But wait. Maybe there is a way that video games could actually help to reduce childhood obesity.

I am no technical genius, but doesn’t Nintendo’s Wii Remote, Balance Board, etc already use a variety of motion sensing technologies to enable the user to physically interact with the game.

However, most of that interaction is limited to a series of wrist flicks and thumb action.

What if video games had total body interaction between player and game?

  • If you want your 1st person shooter to run fast, you have to run fast (on the spot, using the Wii balance board).
  • If you want your race car to drive fast, you have to pedal your stationary bike fast (equpped with some form of accelerometer).

Total body interaction…not just thumbs and wrists.

And, I bet that all of the technology required to do this already exists.

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But, do we want it?

Would anyone buy it?

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