SpongeBob SquarePants runs across a grassy Japanese garden, mowing down 'smog monsters' and other gas guzzling foes with some sort of green gun as he goes. Every so often, he hurls a glowing green orb at a dead-looking tree and makes it sprout leaves.
Whatever it is that's going on, exactly, certainly looks fun enough for kids to get into—it's the trailer for Nickelodeon's new online videogame, The Big Green Help Global Challenge, which launches tomorrow. The title's not quite as catchy as "Double Dare," sure, but if Nick can successfully engross kids into their brand of online gaming—population multimillions—they've got a shot at broadcasting a clear green message heard by youth around the world.
In the game, players will control one of four characters (SpongeBob, some giant cow, a guy in spandex among them—sorry, I'm not up on my cartoons I guess) as they attempt to "'green' the last three pollution-free cities on the planet," according to the press release. (Not sure why they're "greening" the pollution-free cities, but anyhow . . .)
Kids can team up for the multiplayer action over nine levels, over the course of which they'll make real-world pledges and commitments to volunteer time and learn about actual green initiatives. In January, after they've been at the game for a while, kids will have the opportunity to translate the pledges into action: Nickelodeon has teamed with the likes of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Girl Scouts, National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the National 4-H Council to help involve the youths.
It may seem like a rather light green move at first, but when you consider the vast reach of online gaming (around 75 percent of American kids play them), it starts seeming like a rather innovate idea. Let's just hope the game is any fun, and can keep kids half as rapt as World of Warcraft.
Download the game tomorrow at the Big Green Help.