Background: Vegetable consumption protects against chronic diseases, but many young children do not eat vegetables. One quest within the mobile application Mommio was developed to train mothers of preschoolers in effective vegetable parenting practices, or ways to approach getting their child to eat and enjoy vegetables. A much earlier version of the game, then called Kiddio, was alpha tested previously, but the game has since evolved in key ways.
Objective: The purpose of this research was to alpha test the first quest, substantiate earlier findings and obtain feedback on new game features to develop an effective, compelling parenting game.
Methods: Mothers of preschool children (n=20) played a single quest of Mommio 2 to 4 times, immediately after which a semi-structured interview about their experience was completed. Interviews were transcribed and double coded using thematic analysis methods.
Results: Mothers generally liked the game, finding it realistic and engaging. Some participants had difficulties with mechanics for moving around the 3-D environment. Tips and hints were well received, and further expansion and customization were desired.
Conclusions: Earlier findings were supported, though Mommio players reported more enjoyment than Kiddio players. Continued development will include more user-friendly mechanics, customization, opportunities for environment interaction, and food parenting scenarios.
Keywords: games for health; mobile games; parenting; pediatric nutrition; serious games.