I was terribly excited to read about Azmo the Dragon, an entry from Rice University students for the Imagine Cup. I think it’s a really inspiring project that has the potential to help a lot of people!
Here’s what I like about their game.
- It defines a specific problem. Kids with asthma are supposed to be tracking their lung capacity every day, but blowing into a spirometer is frustrating and dull. Only 50% of kids do it; the game tries to raise that number.
- Playing the game is solving the problem. Getting people to transfer knowledge from one context to another is hard. If the only action you need to take is play itself, the designer’s task gets a lot easier.
- Better performance on the task correlates with better performance in the game. Breathe long and deep enough, and burn your castle! Fail, and watch them snatch victory from your hands! (Er, snout?)
I strongly suspect I’d have some critiques of their game, too. It sounds like the player has to jump through some unrelated hoops before breathing, and I wonder whether there are any in-game challenges to do while doing the measurement. Still, I think this is a smart problem to tackle and a great game-based way to solve it.
Plus, I’m always excited to see more groups working on breath control in games!