Navigating the Grocery Store Aisle

Part 4: Game Development

Once we had our key label facts and messages, market research, and Extension chat and survey feedback, it was time to develop our game. In a weeklong brainstorming session with the NMSU lab staff in February of 2021, we talked about ideas for the game’s story narrative and how players would interact with the game. We also identified the key features we wanted the game to include. It would need to be

highly visual and accessible to all;

ADA compliant;

bilingual (Spanish and English, to match our program audiences’ languages; and

usable for people with limited internet access.

At the end of the week, the lab had designed a prototype for our game, which we titled “Unpeeled: The Case Files of Maya McCluen.” In the game, the player is Maya McCluen, a film noir-type detective who helps a consumer, Mark, find clues and answers to his questions about food labels. Maya can travel to a grocery store, a farm, or the library to look for information and talk to experts like an orange farmer or a registered dietitian. The more clues and answers she gathers, the clearer the case becomes as she deciphers what the non-GMO marketing label on the orange juice container means. At the end of the game, the player has the information they need to help Mark make an informed buying decision.


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