Atkins Made A VR Game About Sugar

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Atkins Made A VR Game About Sugar
January 7, 2017

I think I understand the thought process behind dieting and nutrition company Atkins’ “Sugar Goggles” game at CES, and it’s something like: “if we combine personal health, gaming, and virtual reality, some tech journalist is bound to cover it.” And here I am! But dear god, how did it turn out so awkwardly? The following exchange is all I can think of.

 

“So, you’re making a game in which we want to reward knowledge of glycemic load in food — like, are avocados or bananas better for you?”

 

“Right. Obviously, this means we should test people’s ability to fly through glowing gold hoops inside a crudely rendered human vein. While choosing between hitting dinner plates labeled with more and less sugary foods. Also inside the vein.”

 

“Naturally.”

 

“We’ve hit a problem, though: it’s impossible to see the labels or food pictures until you’re right on top of them, because VR headset screens all look like they’re behind a very fine mesh.”

 

“That’s fine. Keeps players on their toes. Is that a rat or a bunch of blueberries?”

 

“Who cares? It’s up against soda, literally the worst food in the world.”

 

“I guess it only lasts a couple of minutes, so okay. Don’t you think we’re giving mixed signals for such a short game, though? Like, maybe we should at least make it clearer how we balance the score between picking the right foods and racing through the vein, if we’re going to prominently display a leaderboard between each session? Isn’t this all sort of needlessly complicated?”

 

“Look, you’re overthinking this. All we have to do is put out a press release that calls it ‘a compelling, first-hand glimpse into the sugar equivalent of everyday foods.’ Maybe add that virtual reality is ‘one of the most sought-after technological innovations around.’”

 

“If we’re trying to really take advantage of VR presence, shouldn’t we try to appeal to people’s senses in some visceral or aesthetically pleasing way?”

 

“Haven’t you heard? Virtual reality is inherently immersive.”

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