Image via Elephant Journal
We've had an influx of iPhone apps based on the Gulf oil spill, and many of them also donate proceeds to helping clean-up efforts. So what makes Puff Puff: Gulf Spill any different? It's still an app about the life post oil disaster and it donates 30% of net proceeds to ecosystem restoration in the Gulf of Mexico. But perhaps the important feature that sets it apart is that the game pulls players under water into a world battered by oil exploration. Players get to experience what it's like for fish living among drilling, spilled oil, unmanned robotic vehicles and so forth...at least on a cartoon level. The Gulf oil disaster is such a huge part of our lives now that this is likely not the last game we'll see that features sea creatures dodging oil plumes and pipes breaking beneath the surface. But this particular game is designed to "life your mood" while zipping your character -- a spiny puffer -- past the dangers of deep sea drilling.
The game, by 6th Mega, is actually an update from a previous game, adding in among the previous version's tiger shark adversaries and pirate ship treasures the new obstacles brought to us courtesy of BP, including, of course, broken pipes and leaking oil.
Meanwhile, in real life, the creators are giving 30% of net proceeds from game sales to restoring ecosystems. For a $0.99 game, that doesn't add up to a whole lot. Thankfully, the folks at 6th Mega are doing a little more. They're encouraging visitors to make donations directly to The Nature Conservancy's Adopt A Coral Reef program, noting that "Saving coral reefs saves the humans."
Elephant Journal points out, "6th Mega says that the idea to use an iPhone game to help address environmental problems was partially inspired by Jane McGonigal, game designer, games researcher, and a future forecaster.
In the the inspiring video, 'Gaming can change the world', from TED, Jane McGonigal says, "If we want to solve problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, obesity, I believe that we need to aspire to play games online for at least 21 billion hours a week by the end of the next decade."
Let's hope investing billions of hours a week playing online games isn't the only way to solve problems like climate change and habitat destruction.
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