Mattel: Galactive


To help encourage children’s fitness by tying their in-app gaming goals to their levels of real-world physical activity.


Studying juvenile fitness science revealed physician-recommended doses of physical activity and provided parameters for developers.


Metal Toad developed Galactive - an iOS app that utilizes user physical activity to “power” the in-app experience.


Parents now have an technological partner to pair with to initiate their child into a lifetime of fitness and activity.

When approached by our esteemed design partner Ziba with an opportunity to create a video game to motivate children’s fitness, the Toads were thrilled. Not only did this project provide a high level of technical complexity and fun, but it spoke directly to our mission statement and values.

The discovery phase was unlike anything the Toads had encountered before. Reviews of medical and psychological journals laid out the the baseline activity parameters for children’s fitness - 60 minutes of activity per day. The game needed to offer a reward so that children stayed active throughout the day while tying this behavior to in-game playability and performance.

Other methods of encouraging juvenile activity (including Michelle Obama's Let's Move! the NFL's Play 60 campaign) have relied on celebrity spokespeople, appealed to a child’s sense of obligation or “doing good,” and have enjoyed moderate success. Metal Toad’s approach, guided by Ziba and medical professionals, offers parents a technological ally in encouraging their child’s healthy behavior. In an age where young people are so often rewarded for staying indoors and engaging with technology, this platform needs to nudge the user into physical activity by offering a technological reward.

Simplicity was preferred over complexity in both the game’s story and play mechanism. The goal was to provide an interstellar journey (via rocketship) through individual levels, requiring the user to defeat a block breaker game to move on. If at any point the user’s lack of real-world physical activity dropped below a certain point, the spaceship was left stranded in space until the user could run a few laps or take a bike ride.

After concreting these concepts, developers started from scratch. After creating artificial physics and logic parameters, Ziba provided the design assets and the Toads quickly began piecing parts of the initial discovery results into gameplay.

Galactive was born! And is now available for purchase in the iTunes store.

Developing Galactive offered Metal Toad a fresh perspective on human-technological interaction. Closely considering the desires of parents, children, and development partners birthed a novel gaming platform - one that could spell the future of gaming. Or, at a very minimum, one that will write a new chapter in the age old paradigm of parents attempting to ensure their children’s best interests despite incredible opposition.

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