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Sitra launches health-based game competition

Sitra is inviting healthcare and gaming experts to create apps which could land their inventors up to EUR 25,000...


The developer of the best health-related game or application will win EUR 25,000 and a trip to a health-sector fair in Silicon Valley.

At the beginning of March, Sitra launched the Gesundheit 2013 game competition, encouraging people to develop health-themed electronic games and applications. Entries to the competitions must be submitted by Thursday 15 August.

The purpose of the competition is to generate enjoyable and addictive browser or mobile-based Finnish games and apps based around health issues. EUR 25,000 will be awarded for the best game and EUR 15,000 for the best game idea. The winners will also be given the chance to travel to the health-sector conference Health 2.0 in Silicon Valley. Sitra may also make a capital investment in the winning game’s distribution.

“Finland’s approach to well-being and health promotion has long been based on lecturing people and negativity: don’t do that, do this. We are now testing a new, positive approach, trying to get Finns hooked on promoting their health and taking care of themselves through games,” says Director Antti Kivelä of Sitra.

Games entered for the Gesundheit 2013 competition must be related to health promotion, health education or well-being, and must be founded on medical data. The winners will be selected by a broad-based jury consisting of developers from the technology and game sectors, health experts and active citizens.

The members of the jury are: Kiti Müller from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health; Tero Ojanperä from Vision+; Petteri Koponen from Lifeline Ventures; Tiina Zilliacus from Gajatri Studios; Juha Tuominen from Terveystalo; civil activist Marja-Liisa Viherä; and Senior Adviser Madis Tiik from Sitra.

According to the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, playing games has many positive effects that can support the development of children and young people. For this reason, good use has been made of games in school teaching, communications, therapy and encouraging people to exercise. Health games entered for the competition will be used to reach young people in particular – through games, they will be encouraged to take better care of themselves and to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

“So far, hardly any games have had a specific focus on healthy lifestyles and health promotion, even though the opportunities offered by such applications are recognised worldwide,” says Sitra specialist Tapio Tuomi.

“It is possible to affect people’s lifestyles by means of games, encouraging them to learn new things while having fun. In the United States, for example, Games for Health organises health-related game development competitions on an ongoing basis. There are good examples of using games in practical applications, such as the Avatar application used in first aid training, with even better results than conventional teaching.”

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