So far, all of the food-related advergames I have seen on this blog have been for items that are not held in high regard by nutritionists. So here is Dole’s 5-A-Day Adventures which promises to teach us all about proper nutrition and exercise in the most cloying ways imaginable.
So this is pretty straightforward. There are 8 areas, as seen in the above screenshot. Each one provides the player with a lecture about some aspect of nutrition or exercise, usually delivered by anthropomorphic produce (“Hey kids! Remember to eat lots of me and my friends!”). Here’s the phyto chemical parade. I’m trying to figure out if there is a demographic that would be old enough to comprehend words like “phyto chemical” yet still young enough to withstand the inanity of this game.
Afterwards — and the UI is a bit confusing in this respect — the player can choose to either take the Challenge or the Ultimate Challenge for a given area. The respective challenges are a bit misnamed. The unadorned “Challenge” is actually significantly tougher and revolves around trivia that is sometimes multiple choice (as seen in the next screenshot) and sometimes interactive (like having to build a food pyramid). Players earn tokens for correctly answering these questions.
The “Ultimate Challenge” is an insidious misnomer. These present a series of yes/no questions where correct answers are awarded a gold star each. After a little playing, you will no doubt notice a distinct pattern: all the answers are a resounding “Yes”. And they all seem to be somewhat behaviorally-oriented:
Other questions were along the lines of “I sang one of the 5-A-Day songs to my family”; “I sang a 5-A-Day song with my friends.” It was around this time that I decided this was a little messed up. Let’s face it– the only way that kids are going to be exposed to this is in a compulsory context in a classroom environment. And here is this automated mechanism dispassionately supplying repeated negative feedback if a child dares to answer that he or she did not sing a 5-A-Day song.
With any luck, some budding computer hackers exposed to this at a precious young age were able to reverse engineer the data file format, which the game was nice enough to store in a folder on the desktop. Let’s have a look:
Then launch the game again, select the hacked file:
Then call the teacher over to show off the fact that I successfully completed all the objectives in the game, and may I please go outside and play?
After feeling like I emerged triumphant in that skirmish, I checked my pantry only to discover a shelf of Dole brand canned products. So it seems Dole has won the larger battle here.
The CD-ROM I have is marked “2000 edition” and I found references on the internet dated as early as 1998. I also found a portfolio page from a company named IDD which claims credit for this game. IDD is not mentioned in the credits for my version, nor is their screenshot similar to anything in my edition. I was able to contact someone involved in the creation of this edition at eMotion Studios and my contact confirmed that there were just these 2 versions of the game.
- Taco Bell Tek Kids games — In the virtual schoolyard, the Tek Kids would probably bully around the kids from this game
- The Lost Island of Alanna — Cherry Coke’s CD-ROM tie-in