According to Bayer’s website, “Bayer’s DIDGET™ is the only blood glucose meter that plugs into a Nintendo DS™ or Nintendo DS™ Lite system. This unique meter helps encourage consistent testing with reward points that kids can use to buy items and unlock new game levels.”
If you’ve been following Caleb you know that he received a Nintendo DS™ when he braved his first DexCom™ insertion. So with new meter, the Knock ‘Em Down World’s Fair DS game and a vial of test strips, we were ready to go.
Other than the meter, game cartridge and 25 strips, neither Caleb nor I are receiving any kind of compensation from Bayer. Nor did Bayer specifically ask us to do any kind of review.
For more information on Bayer’s DIDGET™, including an online demo, check out their website. If you search online for “Bayer DIDGET™ User Guide” you can get the complete instructions in PDF format. The way the system works is you use the DIDGET™ like any other BG meter to check your sugar. You then plug the DIDGET™ into your DS and start the special Knock ‘Em Down World’s Fair game. The DIDGET™ uploads all the points earned from checking your blood sugar to the DS. At this point you can remove the meter and play the game redeeming your points as you wish.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you consider our feedback on the DIDGET™:
- Caleb uses the OmniPod insulin management system which has an integrated Freestyle meter.
- Caleb checks his sugar eight to ten or more times a day without complaint.
- Caleb’s use of Nintendo DS™ is limited to once, maybe twice a month. He’s a busy boy and screen time is a privilege in this house that is earned and only available after all other responsibilities and activities are completed.
- Caleb had 25 test strips to use from which to earn “tickets” to redeem for rewards. More strips and longer use would enable a more comprehensive review.
Here’s Caleb’s candid responses to questions about the DIDGET™:
Here are some of my observations:
- One of the first points made in the user guide is how to hold the meter when reading the blood sugar result. After personally having a mini panic attack when reading “26” on a OneTouch UltraMini that was actually a “92” held upside down, I had great appreciation for this instruction.
- The rewards from using the meter are largely based upon frequency of testing. You get rewards for checking your blood sugar regardless of the result. The more you check each day (up to four times) and the more consistently you do so, the greater the rewards. There is a slight increase when your blood sugar is in range, but the lion’s share relates to frequency and consistency. If you check more than 4 times a day, it doesn’t benefit you as far as rewards are concerned. The User Guide has more specifics on how the calculations are made.
- The game is not overly simplistic or cutesy. I expected that for some reason. It’s also not immersed in diabetes. Other than a mini game called “Flash Carb” and needing to refuel your player with snacks, I didn’t see any reference to diabetes. I think these attributes will lend to longevity of use.
- I was excited about the mini game Flash Carb that tests your knowledge of different food’s carb content. Estimating carbs is something we are currently working on with Caleb. But I didn’t know what kohlrabi or kasha were much less how many carbs are in them. I do think Flash Carb increases carb awareness in general, but I was hoping for something a little more practical for us.
- As you heard Caleb say, he enjoys the mini games and has his eyes on at least one he’d like to unlock with his rewards.
- There is a battling component to this game that’s a little scary (emphasis on “little”). The music is a little tense and there’s a clown figure in it that makes me a little uneasy. Caleb agrees, although plays it without fear and no nightmares have resulted.
- Caleb (age 7) can typically pick up a video game and figure out what to do without much (any) instruction. The battle part of this game had us a little stumped. However, older brother (age 10 who plays video games even less than Caleb) gave it a try and was much more adept. I’m concluding that the game is targeted toward an age range that includes Caleb and children several years older and that’s why he (and I) struggled a little bit with this part. Caleb was pretty excited just to watch Colin succeed at the challenges and I ultimately had to pull the game out of Colin’s hands.
Overall the quality of the game is good. This is based mostly on Colin’s and Caleb’s assessments and their ranking of it up their with any of their other favorite DS games. As you heard Caleb say, he would use the separate meter to check his sugar so that he can unlock more mini games and buy more food, costumes, pictures, etc. He seemed very excited about it.
Is this going to make us switch to using the DIDGET™ on a regular basis? I’m not sure. The reward system won’t change Caleb’s D management. He doesn’t need to be encouraged to check his sugar more frequently than he currently does. Having to carry around a separate meter does not appeal to me, but Caleb doesn’t seem to mind. Ideally I’d be able to split his prescription between two brands of strips – is that even possible?
The DIDGET™ definitely has the potential to improve a child’s D management. But even if your child is already checking his or her blood sugar regularly, this game creates an intrinsic positive feeling about good blood glucose control. It’s something else available to kids to make them feel that living with diabetes isn’t “strange”. I find value in that. Playing Nintendo DS™ is “cool” and having a game that’s made especially for kids with diabetes, which gives only them the power to earn the rewards, either for themselves or big brother, is pretty neat.
For other DIDGET™ reviews, visit:
Leighann at D-Mom Blog, or
David at Health Central.