Double XP on junk food: Call of Duty promotes unhealthy eating

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, which was released Nov. 8 and is one of the most popular releases of the year, is encouraging gamers to buy junk food with “Double XP” codes on chips and soda packaging.

Pepsi products like Doritos & Mountain Dew have the code, and gamers buy these products to use in the game so they can “level up” quickly. But putting these promo codes on junk food isn’t a good choice. Promoters of the game are hurting gamers by promoting not just a game, but an unhealthy lifestyle.

I myself am a huge Call of Duty (CoD) gamer, so I bought myself some bottles of 12-ounce Mountain Dew, which gave me 15 minutes of Double XP time for each bottle. Double XP codes are on variety products, and the codes range from 15-90 minutes of Double XP time.

Double XP time helps your player in the game “level up” faster than without the Double XP. For example, in CoD Modern Warfare 3, if you kill someone, you receive 50 points. If you kill someone while using Double XP time from Mountain Dew or Doritos, you will receive 100 points for one kill.

[quote]…just for this month in November, I made some sacrifices to get Double XP although I didn’t want to buy any junk food.”[/quote]

As a gamer, I have sacrificed my health over junk food just to get Double XP. I have a history with junk food addiction, but I stopped eating junk food a year ago. In 2010, I drank over 112 Monster energy drinks. I also ate a bunch of junk food. This year, I cut junk food out of my diet and I have felt much better. But just for this month in November, I made some sacrifices to get Double XP although I didn’t want to buy any junk food.

Naturally, gamers will take any opportunity to help their player level up faster. Double XP is a huge deal to most gamers, because getting their hands on these codes gives them an advantage over other players. Enticing gamers with both a fast track to leveling up and with junk food, which can be addicting on its own, is hard to resist.

Now, let’s take a look at how many minutes you receive for buying Mountain Dew and Doritos:

  • 15 minutes for any 20-ounce Mountain Dew bottle
  • 45 minutes for a 12-pack of Mountain Dew
  • 90 minutes for a 20-Pack of Mountain Dew
  • 15 minutes for any 2 & 3 ounce Dorito bag
  • 45 minutes for a 11-ounce Dorito bag
  • 90 minutes for a  17-ounce Dorito bag

Not all of these products are available at a liquor store, but you can find the 20-ounce Mountain Dew bottles and 2 & 3-ounce Dorito bags at liqour or convenience stores, which are common in areas that lack supermarkets (these areas are also known as “food deserts”). Eleven-ounce Dorito bags are only available at Target and 17-ounce Dorito bags are only available at Wal-Mart. These stores benefit from the junk food promotion and the exploitation of gamers, just like the video game and Pepsi does. As for the Mountain Dew packs, the 20-pack Mountain Dew is only available at Wal-Mart.

To throw the soda down the drain would be better than consuming it, but if you do that, you’re just putting your money in the trash.

Sadly, this promotion shows that the game promoter doesn’t really care about gamers’ health. Activision (the game’s publisher) and Pepsi are trying to make money off of us, even though it hurts our health. They know we can’t resist and we’ll buy the junk food because we love the game.

Gaming is not a physical activity. It doesn’t involve exercise, but encourages long hours of sitting. Adding junk food to playing CoD is a recipe for really harming your body.

These companies could have put the Double XP codes on healthy food. Putting the codes on water, 100% juices, fruit packs, carrot sticks or whole grain bread would have been great for gamers, because they would be eating healthy while playing. It might have even helped change the eating habits for some of these gamers.

Let’s think about who is playing CoD and buying junk food for the Double XP codes. Even though the game is rated “M” for mature content and supposed to be played only by people over the age of 18, many CoD players are young, and these kids are most likely to buy junk food to get codes for the game. They are the ones that need healthy food the most. They are most attracted to junk food advertising, like the Mountain Dew bottle with the label claiming to be “game fuel.”

Activision and Pepsi should consider the impact this promotion is having on all gamers, but especially its impact on youth.

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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