monster's BLOG

November 11th, 2008 . by Catherine Frederico, MS RD LDN

It’s a small world after all.

One thing I really enjoy about this social marketing thing is that once in a while you run into some amazing people that love what you do.  And then you find out they know each other.  One of our first Playnormous fans is Amy Jussel, Founder and Executive Director of Shaping Youth. One of our most recent advocates is Andre Blackman, owner of another blog called Pulse & Signal.  Come to find out, Amy and Andre know each other.  In fact, Amy was one of Andre’s mentors.  What a small world!  Andre and Amy both attended the Health 2.0 Conference this past month in San Francisco.  Unfortunately I missed this one, but Andre was kind enough to record several of the presentations.  Including ours! Better yet, he’s given me permission to post this video on Monster’s Blog. Thank you, Andre!  But before we get to the clip, I’d like to give you a little information about our two good friends at Pulse & Signal and Shaping Youth.

Pulse & Signal merges health and technology with action.

Pulse and SignalAndre Blackman is the owner of Pulse & Signal, a blog that features commentary on the impact and potential uses of technology on health communication and social marketing.  Andre’s goal is to ensure that the public is informed about the choices they have regarding their health in this new era of user-generated content and Web 2.0 tools.  He firmly believes that it’s up to us to make our health better, and it’s time for us to make that change for a better tomorrow.  I couldn’t agree more.

I really enjoy Andre’s blog because he focuses on health communication and health marketing.  Health issues + effective communication + scientific theory + business savvy + creativity.  That’s what I like.  We come from the same world, Andre and I, one that is not well understood and is relatively unknown to the average person.  It’s always very exciting to find someone who knows what you’re talking about.  We also have similar tastes in reading material including Well by Tara Parker-Pope, Chris Brogan, Health 2.0 Blog and of course, Shaping Youth.  Check out Andre’s first Pulse & Signal post Who IS this guy? to learn more about him and his blog.

Shaping YouthShaping Youth

Shaping Youth is a nonprofit concerned with media and marketing’s impact on kids.  Their focus is to shift harmful messages in a more positive direction with the help on industry insiders.  They do this without political, religious, or censorship agendas.  Well done!  I originally found Shaping Youth when I first started researching blogs that focused on Childhood Obesity.  Shaping Youth was one of them.

Amy Jussel is tackling this problem and many more by informing the public about the junk food market, consumerism, body image, and much more.  We are proud to call Amy and Shaping Youth a Friend of Playnormous.  Here are some of her amazing posts she’s written about us these past few months:

The presentation.

Now, without further ado, the Health 2.0 Conference video of Richard’s presentation, courtesy of Andre at Pulse & Signal!

Health 2.0 Conference – Richard Buday of Playnormous and Archimage

October 30th, 2008 . by Catherine Frederico, MS RD LDN

Insurance co wants you to get off your couch and play some games!HG4H

Not only is Humana our office’s insurance company, but some of the Playnormous team has become pretty good friends with their new intitative HG4H, Humana Games for Health, after meeting them at the Games for Health Conference earlier this year.  Our friends at HG4H issued a press release a couple of weeks ago that was picked up by the International Business Times.  They wrote such an interesting article that I decided to re-post it here on Monster’s Blog.  Happy reading!

Humana and iTech Fitness Promoting Health and Wellness Through New Exergaming System

A new collaboration between Humana and iTech Fitness is intended to inspire video-game players to get off the sofa and try their hand at the latest generation of active games, known as exergames. Humana is working with iTech in an effort to get more people more active – using exergame technology to promote health and wellness.
Humana Games for Health, part of Humana Inc., and iTech Fitness will jointly promote iTech’s new XRKade iZone, a fully integrated and mobile exergaming system that can be purchased and easily installed in about 300 square feet of space. The XRKade iZone incorporates four LCDs, all gaming electronics, gaming consoles and up to eight items such as bikes, boards and dance pads into one convenient package. The system can be upgraded at any time with new gaming technologies.

Humana and iTech will present the iZone as a solution for organizations that want to promote exergaming, but have limited space and technical know-how, including fitness centers, schools, senior centers, corporate wellness programs and hotels. The iZone, which plugs into a single 110-volt outlet, can be easily stored or moved from site to site for special events.

“We developed the XRKade iZone to offer a fun and simple solution for non-traditional markets wanting to offer the fun of active gaming with limited space and easy set-up,” said Mike Hansen, iTech president and CEO. “We are excited to collaborate with Humana to bring active gaming to new markets.”

iTech is unveiling the XRKade iZone this week at Club Industry ’08, a trade show and conference for health and fitness professionals. The iZone is featured at Booth 160 in the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago.

Active gaming incorporates physical activity into the video game experience. Players power a fighter jet by pedaling, dance alone or in a group, do tricks on a skateboard or snowboard, or take an exercise bike for a leisurely spin through beautiful scenery, or a thrilling stage of the Tour de France – just a couple of examples.

“At Humana Games for Health, we believe game technology can be used to improve people’s health,” said Paul Puopolo, director of Humana Games for Health. “More importantly, active gaming offers a fun way to increase physical activity. That’s why we’re pleased to be working with iTechFitness. With exergame solutions such as the XRKade iZone, exergaming will now be accessible to more people.”

If you are interested in learning more about the XRKade iZone, please visit For more information on Humana Games for Health, visit

August 11th, 2008 . by Catherine Frederico, MS RD LDN

Is playing a video game really worse than under-aged drinking? Gamasutra logo

Online game magazine Gamasutra posted an article today which highlights a recent online poll conducted by a family-centered consumer game site, What They Play. The survey revealed that, when asked for a single choice, parents are more concerned about their children’s exposure to games such as Grand Theft Auto than alcohol, violence, and pornography.

Honestly, these results kind of shocked me. I haven’t read the full study myself, but here are the details. The poll was conducted August 1-6, 2008 and asked over 1,600 respondents what they’d be most concerned about their 17-year-old child indulging in while at a sleepover.

  • 49% are most concerned about their child smoking marijuana.
  • 19% responded that they are most concerned with their children playing Grand Theft Auto.
  • 16% answered that they are most disturbed by their children watching pornography.
  • 14% are most concerned with them drinking beer.

But I’m not a parent, so does my opinion really count?

Although I think these poll results are absolutely RIDICULOUS, at the same time, I’m not a parent. I’ve played Grand Theft Auto, and I know it’s not designed for kids like Playnormous games are. And we know that parents are concerned about the safety of their kids where gaming is concerned, whether it’s an online gaming site or a console game….hence our careful creation of the made-especially-for-kids Playnormous site. But is participating in fantasy deviance really worse than deviant behavior in the real world? Furthermore, if parents really believe that games like GTA can be so influential, why aren’t there more games out there like Food Fury, Bubble Trouble, and Juice Jumble that use this to better the lives of kids?

Parents: I’d love to hear your thoughts.

July 25th, 2008 . by Catherine Frederico, MS RD LDN

I hate to admit it, but social media does work sometimes…

I found this pretty amazing blog this morning through a very roundabout sort of way, courtesy of social media. I am subscribed to a daily newsletter feed for a blog called ProBlogger. Really, anything you need to know about blogs, this is the place to go. Sometimes the owner of ProBlogger likes to do little experiments, like the Social Media Love-In which resulted in Follow These Twitter Users-They’re Just Like You. Long story short, I found this great blog called Simple Mom. It’s written by…well…a mom, and the first page I happened to open was a post where she explains all about RSS Feeds.

So, that was a long, roundabout way of saying, this Monster’s Blog post is brought to you by this post, courtesy of Simple Mom. Thanks, Simple Mom!

What are they feeding me exactly?

Simple Mom - RSSRSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” It’s a little piece of technology that allows you to receive up-to-date information from sites in one spot, where you can then read them on your own time. Many times, a blog’s RSS is simply called a “feed.”

A subscription is a good description for receiving these feeds – think of it as you would subscribing to a magazine or newspaper. Usually there’s a button or link somewhere on the site which says “subscribe” or “RSS Feed.” The cute one on Simple Mom is pasted to the right. Feeds come to your mailbox when they have new stuff to give you.

An RSS reader is a place you go to read your feeds. The most popular ones are Bloglines and Google Reader. I personally use NetNewsWire. No particular reason, that’s just what Jon set up on my iMac. Thanks, Jon!

Monsters Blog-RSS

Can I subscribe to Monster’s Blog via RSS?

Do we have a cute RSS feed button like the Simple Mom blog? NO!!!! I suppose everything on our site can’t be cute.

But we do have an RSS section on Playnormous. See the left-hand side of the blog with links so you can subscribe to the Feed and/or the Comments. Just download the reader of your choice, click on the link, and you’re good to go!

July 3rd, 2008 . by Catherine Frederico, MS RD LDN

Following in big Playnormous monster footsteps.

An article in Reuters this week revealed that French commercial game publisher Ubisoft has jumped on the Health Game bandwagon. Be on the lookout for these two games for Nintendo DS.

  • A smoking cessation game that makes players focus on why they smoke rather than why they shouldn’t.
  • A weight loss program called My Weight Loss Coach which comes with pedometer.

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