Video games can be about more than just entertainment. They can be made to help educate and inform its players, bringing to light real-world issues that occur these days.
We at DAE Studios brought Slappy Inc. together with Pieterjan Verhelst (UGent) and Arnaud Zonderman (Scriptie vzw) to create one such game for the Flemish Science Day: Save The Eel. While on the surface it may seem like a simple game its importance cannot be understated.
With an introduction video and small facts worked into the game it helps inform the players of the real dangers that these eels face. As Angie the Eel you make your way through the river to reach the sea.
There are a couple of notable obstacles on your path, however, after eating and stacking up on fat reserves. Fishing nets, turbines from hydropower plants, the screws in water pumping stations, and shipping locks make the journey that much more difficult. Every 20 obstacles you successfully help an eel make it out of the river only to start the journey again with another.
A daunting task that simulates their predicament quite well which is precisely what the goal is.
The proof that it actually works? According to the statistics over 2000 people, with an average session of 8 minutes per player, played the game over the course of a single week. A wonderful achievement that shows that these types of games can stand on their own.
Other partners involved in the creation of this game were Lifewatch and Instituut Natuur-en Bosonderzoek.