Gaming for Good: Resource List

Resource

There are several options available for mobile games to encourage wildlife empathy and pro-environmental behavior. The following are options for you to share with the children in your life (or, if your interest is piqued, why not give them a shot?). 

1. Wildeverse: “Wildeverse serves as a platform that connects people directly with individual animals and the people at the frontlines of conservation, building understanding and support of their work…Escape into the wild! Augmented Reality transforms players’ homes, backyards, or neighbourhoods into a jungle. Discover what it takes to protect wildlife in the last wild spaces on earth” (Internet of Elephants, n.d.). 

The Premise: Wildeverse uses augmented reality (found in games such as PokemonGo!) to immerse you in the jungles of Borneo. You become a conservation scientist in the wild, following the stories of four apes (Fio the orangutan, Aida the chimpanzee, Buka the gorilla, and Chilli the gibbon) (Internet of Elephants, n.d.).  

The Audience: Rated 9+ on the App Store and Teen on GooglePlay. 

The Platforms: Wildeverse is available on both the App Store and GooglePlay. 

2. Kakapo Run: “The kakapo is a large flightless parrot with a ground-rumbling mating call. It may not be able to fly, but it sure can run. There are only about 200 kakapo left in their New Zealand home. As you make your way to Sanctuary Island you’ll face all the dangers that have made this bird highly endangered. Fast moves will get you to safety, all while learning fun facts along the way” (On the Edge, n.d.-a). 

The Premise: Players roleplay as the endangered Kakapo in an infinite-runner game (such as Temple Run) in a setting that encourages education along the journey. Your goal? Get across New Zealand to Sanctuary Island! 

The Audience: Rated 4+ on the App Store and Everyone on GooglePlay. 

The Platforms: Kakapo Run is available on both the App Store and GooglePlay. 

3. Paperbark: “Paperbark is a game that tells a charming short story of the bush, a wombat, and a very hot Australian Summer. It presents a sincere representation of Australian bushland which is inspired by iconic historical and contemporary landscape artists and Australian children’s literature…The game has been created as a love letter to wandering through the bush and will resonate with anyone who grew up in Australia or is interested in it (Paperbark, 2018). 

The Premise: Paperbark uses story-telling and award-winning visuals to immerse players into the life of a sleepy wombat as it forages and searches for a new home.

The Audience: Rated 4+ on the App Store. 

The Platforms: Paperbark is available for $5.99 on the App Store. 

4. Save the Purple Frog: “As old as the dinosaurs, the Purple Frog is one of nature’s most weirdly wonderful creatures. It squawks like a chicken, has a snout nose like a pig, and lives underground for all but one day a year. It needs saving too, because it’s endangered in its Indian home. Dodge dangers that it faces in real life as you hop your way to the breeding ground. Learn fun facts along the way that may come in handy!” (On the Edge, n.d.-b). 

The Premise: Players roleplay as a purple frog and survive the journey during its few hours of emergence by avoiding dangers and collecting froglets and termites, all while learning more about this endangered species (The App Store, 2021). 

The Audience: Rated 4+ on the App Store and Everyone on GooglePlay. 

The Platforms: Save the Purple Frog is available for free on both the App Store and GooglePlay. 

There are many other games out there that might utilize methods to develop empathy towards animals, but, going forward, targeted attempts are vital in helping bridge the gap between a world revolving around technology and decreasing biodiversity. Learn more about how mobile gaming can engage players to increase wildlife empathy.