Fantasy Video Game Teaches Kids About Clinical Trials

WATERTOWN, Mass.--A unique educational video game developed by New England Research Institutes (NERI) is now being downloaded by kids across the country. Called "The Paper Kingdom," the game is aimed at kids ages 8-14 and helps dispel myths and misconceptions about medical clinical trials. The game was officially launched this week on the website of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

"Clinical trials are vital for advancing medical knowledge, but kids and their parents often don't know anything about how such trials work and the potential benefits they offer," says Lisa Marceau, Director and VP of Media and Communications Research, at NERI and director of the Paper Kingdom project. "We wanted to create a fun way to teach kids the basics of clinical trials so they, and their parents, feel more comfortable about participating."

The game can be played on both PC and Mac computers. It is available as a free download from the NHLBI website and is rated "E" for everyone.

In the Paper Kingdom, everyone and everything is made out of paper. The player must find his or her "younger brother," who has run away to the "Kingdom." At first, the Kingdom is bleak and pale, stripped of color. During their quest, the player helps characters restore colors to the Kingdom. Along the way they must conquer a desert, jungle, ice landscape, enchanted forest, a robotic clockwork world, and a volcano, all the while learning more about clinical studies.

Concepts conveyed by the game include topics such as confidentiality, the ability to say "no," peer or parental pressure, and why clinical research is important. By the time they find their lost "brother," participants have been exposed to all of the content relevant to their age level.

The game was funded with a contract from NHLBI (HHSN268201200044C) and produced by Wisdom Tools, and instructional design company in Bloomington, Indiana.

"The Paper Kingdom is a novel approach, adapting an established media platform to the need for conveying important educational content to kids," Marceau says. "This is the kind of innovative synthesis of technology and public health research at which NERI excels."

NERI is a global, privately held specialty Contract Research Organization providing customized clinical trial solutions and patient registry services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, biomaterial and medical device companies. NERI also has extensive experience collaborating on federally-funded research with organizations like the National Institutes of Health. Since its founding in 1986, NERI has earned widespread recognition for its scientific credibility, efficiency, and expertise in conducting clinical trials in a variety of medical specialties. For more information,


New England Research Institutes
Lisa Marceau, 617-923-7747


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