By popular vote, LunchLine is currently one of the top five of entries in the national contest APPS for Healthy Kids (www.appsforhealthykids.com). For this competition, software and game designers were tasked to invent applications or games that teach and encourage kids, especially “tweens” (ages 9 to 12), to make healthier food choices and to exercise.
The game begins as a player arrives late to the cafeteria (for either breakfast, lunch or dinner) and has to select food before the food line closes. Each selection choice that scrolls across the screen indicates nutritional values, and each player sees his or her own nutritional needs and optimal target for the meal. Timing and selection are key to playing the game, and the closer that each player comes to hitting their nutritional target, the more points they’ll score. The foods presented are all ones that kids love, and they can learn more about their daily choices quickly through the fun graphics, sound and text.
Fischthal, LunchLine’s chef de cuisine (game design and Flash development), graduated from Vassar in 2005 with a degree in Astronomy. He is a freelance game designer and the founder and CEO of Homework My Way. Fischthal was a senior game designer at Nickelodeon, where he managed the design and creative development for the online game Nicktropolis.com. When asked about his interest in the developing this game, Fischthal noted, “I’ve always had a passion for education and see kids’ nutrition as highly important. This was a great opportunity to develop fun and interactive content that we hope will improve kids’ health.”
The APPS for Healthy Kids competition is part of an effort started by first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation. A panel of judges will choose the winners of the competition. In addition, the individual or group chosen by the public will receive an award as well. Contest voting, open through August 14, may be done via the competition website (www.appsforhealthykids.com). The winner of the Grand Prize will receive $10,000, and there are also cash awards for being the Popular Choice winner, a runner-up or receiving Honorable Mention.