The Great Barrier Reef Foundation and Sankari Studios, a for-good international gaming company, have partnered up to launch a new video game that will raise funds for the real-world conservation efforts of the tourist hot spot.
The smartphone game is called Katoa Ocean, and players can earn points by exploring the digital underwater world, managing different resources to combat threats to the ecosystem and completing quests assigned by the game.
The gameplay includes talking to sea creatures in need, cleaning spots of pollution, planting sea grass and coral and taking on specific quests that support particular charities. Overall, the goal is to reclaim the serene underwater environment from the “toxic blight” that plagues the seascapes and creatures that inhabit the space.
In-game points will be converted into real-world donations for various environmentally focused charities from philanthropists aligned with Sankari Studios. In the case of The Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the funding will support work to regenerate over 610 acres of seagrass meadows that are crucial to helping the reef survive and endure the effects of climate change.
Anna Marsden, managing director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, says that the organisation is “excited” to partner with Sankari and hopes that the game “can help secure a better future for our reef.”
The launch of the game was also supported by EarthDay.org, which hosted a live webinar with representatives from Sankari Studios. On that panel, CEO Victoria Raiser said she saw the game as an object for creating change. She said, “There is such a hunger for doing good, but the tools are missing.”
Chief creative officer Christian Rossi added that Katoa is an example of “secret learning”, as gamers engage with play while learning about issues of climate change. The CCO continued, “You can have escapism, you can have education and you can have fulfilment in a game. They’re not mutually exclusive.”
The video game company is working with other beneficial non-governmental organisations such as Sustainable Ocean Alliance and The African Penguin Nest Project.
The game is available for free through both Google Play and the App Store.