Green Space is a new Facebook game from RocketOwl Inc, in which players are presented with futuristic environmental challenges and an environmental message. I became interested in Green Space because I think the social connections through Facebook have the potential to spread messages and information very quickly, and so linking a social game to a social cause has the ability to bring issues onto thousands of Facebook feeds. Sure, I usually associate “raising awareness” with those slactivist memes like posting your bra color for breast cancer, but I also think a good social game could share information (and, yes, awareness) in a palatable way.
Instead of presenting users with a surprising stat or a video to share, RocketOwl envisions a sci-fi world where empty cartons and wrappers completely cover the ground. The player takes on the role of a Space Janitor, a low-level employee with the GreenSpace Corps, who’s been sent to clear away years of trash and find a viable, green planet underneath. The game drops a sci-fi world and a message of environmentalism over the usual Facebook game mechanics: Instead of plowing land, players need to clear trash to reclaim it. Reclaimed areas can be decorated, and gathered trash can be processed into usable materials like Oil or Metal. Larger pieces of trash require more energy to clean up, but reward with more usable materials when it’s processed. Then, the reclaimed materials are used to build upgrades and spacey decor, improving your Space Janitor’s efficiency, and bringing the dirty planet to life.
Most of the space technology relies on power from the planet’s power grid. To gain more energy, spam all your friends with endless requests for gifts. JUST KIDDING! Build power nodes to harvest sustainable energy like Solar or Wind power.
The trash-gathering is hardly the subtlest metaphor ever, and with the slogan The Future is Tidy!, players won’t forget this is an edu game. Still, slowly watching your gamespace changes from trash heap to futuristic paradise is very effective. Like every other Facebook social game, players are rewarded for inviting friends, and need more friends for higher-level missions. GreenSpace is RocketOwl’s first offering, coming out of beta this week, so we’ll soon see if GreenSpace can harness friend requests and feed posts for a cause.