PopCap Games joins dentists in the fight against tooth decay

Stop Zombie Mouth cards

Though Plants Vs Zombies has appeared on nearly every gaming platform in existence and developer PopCap Games is hard at work on delivering the PvZ sequel that came to light in August, there is no rest for the company’s legions of shambling undead. Instead of merely allowing these ambulatory corpses a chance to enjoy their afterlives, PopCap has enlisted its gruesome creations in the fight against tooth decay.

As part of the “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign, PopCap has joined forces with the American Dental Association to promote good dental hygiene. As you can see from the official Stop Zombie Mouth website (or the trailer/music video for the campaign embedded below) this is obviously aimed at kids. While the overall goal is to teach youngsters how to properly maintain their teeth and gums, the campaign also has a lesser, but no less crucial motive of instilling in kids the basics of dental hygiene before Halloween festivities ruin all that hard work in a shower of delicious, sugar-riddled candies.

So, how does a video game company aid in the battle against tooth decay? By getting kids hooked on its games, of course. Under the Stop Zombie Mouth campaign, PopCap will be issuing a number of collectible cards and special coupons based on Plants Vs Zombies. The cards, as you might expect, feature the game’s titular walking dead (as well as five original characters created just for this campaign and a number of zombies not seen in any iteration of Plants Vs Zombies to date), while the coupons are actually free vouchers for full copies of either the PC or Mac version of the game. These goodies are designed to be given away by dentists to their customers, much in the same way that dental professionals have been handing kids toothbrushes and toothpaste at the end of check-ups for as long as anyone can remember.

While we can’t fault the potential benefits of teaching kids how to care for their oral cavities, this whole scheme seemed a bit “out of left field” on first glance. Thus, we sent off a message to PopCap asking why the company would ever want to join forces with America’s dentists. In sum, the company wants to use its games to promote positive change in the world.

“We at PopCap have been interested in the potential for video games to provide benefits beyond entertainment for many years,” PopCap co-founder John Vechey told us. “We’re passionate about the very important cause behind the ‘Stop Zombie Mouth’ campaign and proud to be highlighting yet another positive effect that games can have on society.”

Margo Wootan, Director of Nutrition Policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, praises the initiative, saying that PopCap and the ADA have come up with a very novel solution to this eternal problem. “Changing eating habits among children is one of the most important yet difficult challenges that parents face today,” Wootan said. “The ADA and PopCap Games have come up with a fun, clever, and compelling approach that should appeal to young trick-or-treaters this Halloween. This campaign will help children recognize the relationship between healthy eating and healthy teeth, and provide one of the coolest alternatives to sugary snacks yet.”

It should be noted that this is not the first time PopCap has demonstrated an unexpectedly high level of corporate kindness. In late 2011, when a PopCap employee named Lisa was diagnosed with and began treatment for cancer, her office was literally flood with tiny origami cranes courtesy of her “co-workers” at PopCap’s then-new Shanghai wing. Likewise, in June of that same year, PopCap began selling a number of original Plants Vs Zombies art assets to benefit the Starlight Children’s Foundation and the UK’s SpecialEffect charity group.


Once the dust settles, 'Fallout 76' will be a nuclear wasteland worth exploring

The launch of Fallout 76 has been nothing short of apocalyptic, but that doesn’t mean the game is dead on arrival. Bethesda has a path forward, paved by The Elder Scrolls Online, another game that suffered a rocky start.
Movies & TV

The best Christmas TV episodes and specials

To help get you in the spirit of the season, we've compiled a list of the best Christmas TV episodes and specials. Whether it's free episodes on your favorite streaming service, or stop-motion classics, look no further.

Still have money in your Flexible Spending Account? Head to the FSA online store

Don’t panic if you still have money sitting in your FSA and no doctor's appointments on the horizon. The FSA store has plenty of cool, useful gizmos you’ll want to purchase for your home and your health.

Joker from ‘Persona 5’ will take your heart in ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’

Joker, the leader of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts from Persona 5, will arrive to Super Smash Bros. as its first DLC character. The announcement was a surprising one, because Persona 5 is a PlayStation 4 exclusive.

‘Magic: The Gathering’ enters esports relevance with $10 million prize pool

Wizards of the Coast is pushing Magic: The Gathering into esports relevance with a prize pool of $10 million across the tabletop version and Magic: The Gathering Arena. Will the game be able to compete with Hearthstone and Overwatch?

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for December 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on stand-alone consoles, as well as bundles that feature games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Get some bang for your buck with these Nintendo Switch console deals at Walmart

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in the past, but you can still get some bang for your buck on game consoles before the holiday season is done. Walmart has various Nintendo Switch bundles on sale right now.
Product Review

‘Just Cause 4’ is mindless fun that leaves little room for much else

Just Cause 4 revels in explosions and over-the-top action, but its world feels empty and hollow. With few new ideas and a stale open world, it's a fun but shallow piece of escapism.

‘CS:GO’ goes free-to-play and players are not happy about it

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), has gone free-to-play this week in a controversial move. Players are angry that the problem of cheating will get much worse now that anyone can make a disposable account to play.

The most common Xbox One X problems, and how to fix them

The Xbox One X is a brilliant console, but it's not without its issues, ranging from simple annoyances to severe hardware problems. Here are common Xbox One X problems and how to fix them.

How to delete and reinstall games on your Xbox One

Removing and reinstalling games on the Xbox One's hard drive isn't difficult, but it's a process that not everyone is familiar with. Thankfully, our guide will run you through each step so you'll know precisely what to do.

‘Street Fighter V’ players will get bonuses if they allow in-game ads

Capcom will show in-game advertisements on Street Fighter V starting December 11. Players may choose to deactivate the ads, but they will miss out on some bonuses and content if they do so.

‘The Walking Dead: The Final Season’ returns with Episode 3 next month

Skybound Games revealed the release date for Episode 3: Broken Toys of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead: The Final Season. Clementine's story will be getting the ending that it deserves after all.