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Diabetes ... is a Game?

The idea of creating a game about diabetes both intrigues me and creeps me out a little bit.  Diabetes is a game? I guess after an evening of "WHY 200?  WHY?!!" I'm not feeling so light and fluffy about diabetes.  But I see the potential for kids to learn about diabetes and its management through the use of games, so I'm all so for whatever gets good information out there.  And over the last few days, I've come across two particularly interesting games, thanks to reader alerts, aimed at kids who either have diabetes or have friends with diabetes.

The first game is on the Nobel Prize educational games site and it's cleverly called The Diabetic Dog game.  (Wee bit short on imagination once they got to the naming part, I suppose.)  I will admit - I played this game for at least 15 minutes and I appreciated the cuteness of the doggy. 

The Diabetic Dog Game

As a "caretaker," I was instructed to keep my diabetic doggy (named, in my profile, "DoggyPants") happy (by petting him), well-fed (by purchasing food for him), getting him to exercise (by walking him), and keeping his blood sugar in check by giving him insulin injections.  Keeping an eye on the bar at the bottom left of my screen let me know what DoggyPants's blood sugar was, and I could feed and dose him accordingly.

(Sidenote:  Having that bar gauge with his blood sugar in it sure helped me figure out what I was doing, and I wondered if the developers of this Diabetic Dog Game realized how they're helping further the case for continuous glucose monitors.) 

Overall, I liked how this game showed the importance of insulin, food choices, and exercise as the cornerstones for good diabetes management, and it didn't tout insulin as "a cure."  Basically, all you do is chase this little puppy around and feed him or dose him or walk him.  Constant cycle of redundancy, only the results aren't predictable.  Kind of like real life.  :)  

The other game I have been receiving reader alerts on is the Didget from Bayer.  I haven't seen this game in person, but according to the word on the street (read: their website), "The Didget blood glucose meter from Bayer is the only meter that plugs into a Nintendo DS or Nintendo DS Lite gaming system to reward children for consistent testing."  

The DIDGET.  IN ALL CAPS!

So it's an actual meter that snaps into the Nintendo system.  (It appears to be, or be completely identical to, the former "GlucoBoy" from a bit ago.)  Honestly, that is pretty darn cool, and I wish that kind of "fun" was available when I was testing my blood sugar as a kid.  Hell, I'd like to have that kind of positive reinforcement NOW, thank you very much.  

"This unique meter helps encourage consistent testing with reward points that children can use to buy items within the game and unlock new game levels. And, since the DIDGET meter is based on Bayer’s trusted CONTOUR™ system, you know you’re getting a meter that’s reliable." They are also building a community for kids to "hang out in" virtually, comparing notes.  Of course, since it's Bayer, they need to slide in their personal product endorsement, but they have the right idea.  Test often, get rewarded for keeping tabs on your numbers, and maybe Nick Jonas will show up at your house and give you a hug.

That last part?  A lie.  But Bayer is working its way into the hearts of kids with diabetes, and as a former kid with diabetes myself, I would have appreciated that kind of innovation as part of my childhood with this disease.  From what I can tell so far, this meter is being marketed towards diabetics in the UK, but hopefully there will be a United States counterpart.  With mg/dl readings.  Because doing conversions when low?  Not so easy.

So there you have it. We've come a long way from that game with the elephants or the other one about the Escape from Diab, and hopefully more efforts will be made to engage kids - and adults! - with diabetes.  Positive reinforcement is hard to come by in this whole diabetes mess, so every little bit helps.

Comments

I love this idea. I wish they had one that plugged into iPods that would earn your points in the apple store for music. That would work. :)

Didn't you ever play Captain Novolin on the SNES??

Kerri,
My daughter is a counselor at camp nejeda this summer. I found out that you can become a fan of the camp on facebook, its really neat! It is unbelieveable to me that hundreds of kids go to this camp each summer. My daughter loves camp and can't wait each year to get there. On the facebook nejeda page there is a picture of the counselors and staff wearing tee shirts from d-life, "test dont guess". I'm sure that they play games with the kids about diabetes care and management, but the camp is great fun too. Got to love when kids have fun and some learning gets thrown in there...ps - I have always thought that these type of camps should get more media attention, any thougts on how to do that?

I'm with SuperG on the iTunes credit. Another incentive to get that iPhone integrated meter developed.... If only I knew how to make things like that!

Well I think this is a great idea. I had Tristan, who is 5, play the diabetic dog game. He cried :( The dog's blood sugar was going up and he would start panicking and the more noise the game made, the more he panicked. He doesn't want to play it anymore. And now he wants us to bring his dogs in LOL He thought it was too sad when the puppy was sad. He said I'm glad our dogs don't have diabetes. So I told him not they don't but you do. He said ya, I said maybe you should learn how to take care of the dog so that you can learn how to take care of yourself..... didn't get an answer. Maybe slowly he will realize what it means to take care of his condition.... slowly. :)

If I could earn amazon points in order to buy books, my insurance would probably drop me for checking too often. *blush* LOL

That was enormous fun! Unfortunately my dog - "Stilton" - was taken into care after a day as I continuously fed him pizza after pizza and didn't give the poor beast any insulin.

But, this is probably a useful learning tool for the less-sarcastic :-)

About the dog game, we have a friend that has a diabetic dog, who is also almost blind, and old. When my son changed from NPH to Lantus (he now uses a One Touch Ping pump), I gave them our leftover NPH, and extra syringes, because that is what they use and the dog does not have insurance

My brother and I used to play this computer game called Starbright. We LOVED it. It taught my brother alot about diabetes and it game me some new insights as well. The game pretty much takes you through a day with a diabetic. You check blood sugar, give insulin, and choose food. But then the character has a middle of the night low and it takes you on a trip inside his body to see what's actually going on. Anyone else remember this game?

Ok, I know there has to be a computer genius who reads your blog....if so, PLEASE make a diabetes game for the iPhone;) haha sorry Kerri for begging on your blog...Pls forgive me

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