We’re very excited about launching WILDEVERSE, a new game by Internet of Elephants who are brilliant game makers, passionate about conservation.
The game will take people through a rainforest in their own homes and gardens to track a wild orangutan and learn important field skills to help within conservation.
Within the game you’ll get to meet a Chester Zoo character based on a few of our conservation and science team here at the zoo. We worked closely with Internet of Elephants throughout the process to add elements of Chester Zoo’s work in the field with orangutans and other species found in Borneo directly into the game, so we’re so excited to share it with you now!
Working within Conservation Education & Engagement here at the zoo, we’re always looking for new ways to engage our audiences, so we can appeal to a broad range of people. We’ve found in recent years that games are a great way of bringing people together, of all ages and background, whilst learning about specific topics.
We’re always playing around with games in a number of ways. Within education we have a Games Group who meet on a regular basis to research and develop any new games our teams are considering within teaching sessions or out and about in the zoo. These might be new board games to explore threats to species, card exchange games to learn about our campaigns, or new digital interactive games to go online or in the zoo.
If you’ve visited the zoo in recent years you may well have had the opportunity to play our Predator vs Prey game on site; a fun, non-contact game for families to interact with other families by ‘catching’ their opponent with a simple ROAR at each other!
We’re always working with different games experts to develop our own knowledge of game mechanics and types of games for change:
Last summer we were lucky to receive game’s training by Kasia Pikula who delivered a ‘Games for Change’ workshop to our education team. This allowed the team to put some of the zoo’s educational goals at the heart of game design to ensure they have meaning to our audiences. Kasia has also recently been working with our Digital Learning Manager, Lauren Walker to pilot a co-production project with pupils from King’s School in Chester. Over a 5 week programme of work, students learned from zoo experts about the importance of species, the conservation and science work we do at Chester Zoo and how we tell stories through our marketing campaigns.
Based on a a game of consequences, pupils then worked with Kasia and Lauren to understand how games work and co-produce a new story based game which allows the player to make various choices about conservation and the world around them.
The students we worked with were incredibly creative. They took the knowledge that they had learned in the first few weeks to then construct characters, a game world and the all important story line that drives the game forward. The project allowed the pupils to think outside the box and to consider how people’s choices (including their own) can play a part in how their world looks, especially within the themes of conservation and preventing extinction.
Lauren Walker, Digital Learning Manager, Chester Zoo.
We’re also currently working with game makers Coney to create some new games to support our Sustainable Palm Oil Campaign for schools to use and for individuals to play online. We are co-developing a downloadable pack to enable teachers to explore the topic of palm oil through a table top, classroom based game. As well as this, we’re developing an online game set in a high school to allow our 12-25 audience to understand the complexities of the palm oil industry and how we can all play a part in our demand for sustainable palm oil. In order to create both of these games, it’s been so important for us that we consult with the people who will play them, so for both, we’ve worked with schools and young people to help shape the direction and game play of each game.
It’s really important to us that we make conservation as accessible as possible to as many people as we can and we acknowledge that people learn in different ways. By creating games, we hope to encourage people to learn more about endangered species and inspire them to act for wildlife. Whether that’s learning about skills our field conservationists use in the wild, or encouraging our audiences to look at the world with a slightly different perspective, after playing one of our games, our hope is that you value the world, wildlife and conservation even more.