Around a decade and a half ago, I was involved in an incident that resulted in my jaw being broken in two places (someone was cleaning their fist and it went off, long story). I was given a choice of how to proceed and I chose to have my jaw wired shut, as the alternative (surgery) was a very scary idea to someone who’d never had it. Jaw wiring, it turns out, comes with its own sets of risks, among them being gum line cavities that deteriorate over time, and as anyone who followed my until recently active Twitter is aware, that’s basically what happened to me. A decade and a half later, I’ve gone through a couple of extractions and ten root canals to repair the damage done, due to a combination of factors that probably could have been avoided on multiple fronts, but due to numerous factors, many of them on me, this never happened.
The reason I mention this is because I love every single part of this promotion:
PopCap has teamed up with the American Dental Association for Halloween this year in a program called “STOP ZOMBIE MOUTH”Â. As you can see on the website, this is a multi-faceted program designed to encourage kids into better brushing habits, designed not around corny mascots or uncomfortable slogans, but around an award-winning game that kids probably know something about. The idea is simple: instead of giving kids candy for Halloween, there are free tokens that can be printed out, allowing kids to download a free copy of Plants vs. Zombies for PC and Mac. Further, local dentists can also participate, and are given not only free codes to download the game, but also trading cards featuring the Plants vs. Zombies characters and the Zombie Mouth monsters featured in the above video. The site itself also features dentist information, wallpapers, Halloween masks, pictures to color, and more for kids to play around with.
Also they dressed Crazy Dave up like a rapper which is amusing for reasons I can’t really explain.
Either way, PopCap is doing something good here to get kids interested in and aware of proper tooth maintenance, and if nothing else, that deserves recognition. Your dentist, parents, health classes and public announcements may get the message across to kids, but they can only do so much; getting kid friendly characters into the act in a way that doesn’t come across as forced or corny is as good, if not better, a method to try. If this can get kids to consider brushing, even if it’s because EWW ZOMBIES ARE GROSS it’s worth a shot, because no one enjoys the end results of tooth decay.
Mark B. is the Senior Editor at Diehard GameFAN, mostly because he’s been on staff for a decade. He has previously written for 411Games, InsidePulse Games, Not a True Ending, Retrograding and Beyond the Threshold, and he maintains multiple infrequent columns, as well as a Hitbox stream on Saturdays. You can check out his archives and non-game related work over at markbwriting.com, and follow him on Twitter at MarkBWriting or Facebook at MarkBWriting. (Special thanks to J. Rose for the artwork.)