Valley Children’s Healthcare is First Hospital to Have its Own Video Game

Daniel Cobb, CEO of Daniel Brian Advertising, one of the leading digital advertising agencies in the country, today announced the world’s first video game to be custom designed for a children’s hospital, Castle on The Coast, will be released for Nintendo Switch, December 2, 2021 in time for Christmas. As a central component of a unique branding campaign for Valley Children’s Healthcare, Castle on The Coast, is a 3D platformer starring the hospital’s mascot George the Giraffe.

George the Giraffe is the official mascot of Valley Children’s Hospital in California. George has symbolized the love and care found at Valley Children’s there for nearly seven decades. “Adopted” as the hospital’s mascot by its five founding mothers, a giraffe was chosen because they have the largest heart of any land mammal. And that heart is present in the care provided at Valley Children’s every single day. Now, thanks to the cooperation between Valley Children’s, Big Heart Productions, and Klabater, the beloved giraffe will debut in a video game!

Studies and testimonials have shown that video games have therapeutic value as a method to raise spirits, manage pain, and improve health outcomes for convalescing pediatric patients. Healthcare professionals recognize the healing influence of video games as an adjunct to traditional treatments that can enhance recovery from serious illness. In the age of COVID-19 restrictions, video games also alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness.

“Hospitalized children can’t go out and play. Video games capture their imagination and draws them into a new world where, for a short time, they can put their pain, worry and loneliness on pause,” says Cobb. “It is a little bit like meditation or mental yoga in that respect. Except you do not have to convince a 12-year-old to try it.”

“This video game – the first of its kind by a children’s hospital in the country – is another way we can bring some fun into the kids’ lives we see. And now kids around the world who may help George navigate the journey through the ‘Castle on the Coast,’” says Todd Suntrapak, President and CEO of Valley Children’s Healthcare.

As the central character in the game, George the Giraffe is the official mascot of Valley Children’s Hospital in California. George has symbolized the love and care found at Valley Children’s there for nearly seven decades. “Adopted” as the hospital’s mascot by its five founding mothers, a giraffe was chosen because they have the largest heart of any land mammal. And that heart is present in the care provided at Valley Children’s every single day. Now, thanks to the cooperation between Valley Children’s, Big Heart Productions, and Klabater, the beloved giraffe will debut in a video game!

Castle on The Coast, was developed in partnership with Klabater, BlackWave Productions and Big Heart Productions. The hand-drawn, retro 3D collectathon casts the player as the adorable giraffe named George, Valley Children Healthcare’s famous mascot. George was chosen wisely for the job since giraffes have the largest hearts of any animal. Children connect with animals, and studies show that animal therapy can be instrumental in healing many mental as well as physical conditions. George parkours his way through challenging levels full of crystal caverns, stone-laden halls, and trippy alternate dimensions, trying to bring together a family of the two powerful, conflicted wizards.

The game includes a co-op mode where a second player can play as George’s squirrel friend Swirlz. In the game, Swirlz sits in George’s backpack and only need concentrate on shooting objects. The team designed the cooperation mode specifically for the under 6-year-old patients of Valley Children’s as well as patients who may be impaired and have difficulty managing the controller. Castle on the Coast also tells a story devised to help young Valley Children’s patients deal with their unique emotional challenges.

Daniel Brian Advertising commissioned Big Heart Productions and Black Wave Productions to develop video game therapy tools in partnership with their clients. Working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the team previously designed a virtual reality patient experience for a child who loved dinosaurs. In a study among critically ill children, those who were granted a wish like this were twice as likely to have fewer emergency department visits and 2.5 times more likely to have fewer unplanned hospitalizations. This inspired the ad agency to co-develop a comprehensive pediatric patient experience, titled “Castle on the Coast.” The goal of the game was to bring children a healing experience, in a game that would be both challenging for adults and easy to play for all ages and various disabilities as well.

Castle on the Coast will be available globally on PC and Switch on December 2nd.

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