Aislinn Dewey
Vibha Bamba

GOQuest is an interactive game concept and wearable game interface that motivates children to be more physically active by reflecting their own energy output in that of a virtual character.


Classes Thesis

A wearable game interface, GOQuest, is designed to encourage children to participate in active play in contrast to traditional screen-based gaming. By connecting a child with a virtual avatar that is one of several animals, the child learns the impact of his/her physical exertion as it relates to his/her character’s game performance.

According to the American Obesity Association, nearly eighty percent of children with one overweight parent will also be overweight. Providing an input device, a lightweight heart-rate monitor, the users activity is recorded both independently and while participating in a shared physical activity. The child’s avatar is given energy faster if the child performs collaborative fitness activities with his/her parents, friends and peers.

If a child meets the daily fitness milestone that GOQuest has set (dependant on the age and weight of the child) they are able to use their earned energy in a virtual online game environment. In order to discourage prolonged static gaming in front of a computer screen, each gaming session is time restricted based on the amount of energy a child's avatar has. When the child is inactive and does not meet their milestone, their virtual avatar has no energy and therefore cannot compete competitively with other players online.

The wearable wristband records a child's heart rate and uses it to indicate his/her game avatar's energy. The interfce also displays the child's game level and game currency. The wristband is equipped with a Bluetooth receiver so that the child’s recorded physical activities can be wirelessly sent to an online database and then reflected in the gaming environment. Bluetooth also enables multiple GOQuest user's devices to connect to each other enable group activity to be mapped and awarded.

Connecting a child to a game avatar that reflects his/her physical performance teaches the benefits of being active while promoting healthy peer-to-peer gaming. GOQuest harnesses the viral appeal of virtual pets, online gaming and peer-to-peer social communication to motivate children, and in part their parents, to incorporate daily physical activity into their gaming habits and rituals.

Adult-targeted heart rate monitor, Nintendo Wii, Dance Dance revolution, Bonsai's tamagatchi virtual pet and online virtual gaming are all inspirations that led to the design concept for GOQuest. In reading trends on obesity, having an assigned project relating to health and wellness as well as being a health-conscious individual, I was intrigued by the problem space of children and physical activity motivators.

Children ages seven to ten years old.

User Scenario
Lets take, Sara, an eight year old girl that lives in Brooklyn. She asks her mom to buy her GOQuest after seeing one of her friends using one. Her mom finally caves in and buys one for Sara. Sara sets her GOQuest up online by creating a customized game avatar and entering her personal information. After she designs her avatar, it is sent via bluetooth to her wristband display where she know sees it moving animately. Initially, for first time users, the energy bar on Sara wristband is full so she has an hour to explore and learn about the site.She begins the game by exploring the arctic terrain level (the furst of five she will encounter on her Quest). After she walks a bit down the path in the virtual world, she encounters a red yield sign indicating a challege or minigame she can play. She plays the game and receives a Q-Clue, a tip about where she can find one of the 15 checkpoints she will need to arrive at in order to move onto a different terrain or level. As she heads down the path she suddenly receives a warning indicating she has only one bar left on her energy meter and she must setup her tent to protect her from the elements. She clicks on the dock of items on the screens interface and selects "nap" to put her character to sleep and signs off. She heads to school and plans to ask her friends if they will play tag with her at recess so that she can fill up her energy bar and keep exploring GOQuest.

I intend to produce a proof of concept for a marketable children's game interface which allows children of varying physical abilities to participate in healthy gaming.

I learned that it takes an enormous amount of resources to tackle a product concept that has more than one facets. I also learned from my users, children from 7-10 years old, what interests them, their likes, dislikes, needs and wants and tried to incorporate that into my game design.