Pretend Space and Real Trees

New post on IGM that’s half about a new initiative from indie studio RocketOwl, and half my rambling about social games for social change.

…The Ottawa indie game developers RocketOwl will be planting a real live tree for each new player of their environmentally-themed Facebook game Green Space who hits level 5. RocketOwl hopes to plant 250,000 trees — which obviously means 250,000 game installs — through a partnership with the reforestation nonprofit WeForest.

I was intrigued by RocketOwl’s environmental message and goals, and so I reviewed the beta of Green Space in August. Because Facebook sharing has the ability to bring a message to millions, there’s a lot of potential to harness that to use a social game to spread a social message. There’s also great potential for players to actually work together to encourage behavior changes, instead of pretending to share cows, as seen most effectively in Jane McGonagal’s wellness game SuperBetter. SuperBetter uses social powers of encouragement and accountability, and gameification of power-ups and levels, to encourage players to make a series of small behavior changes to meet their health goals. There’s potential for a good social game could use the same motivators to bring about better environmental behavior (a bonus for players who use cloth bags at the supermarket, or who take the bus one day instead of driving, for example) and to share stats to raise environmental awareness.

Via Real Trees From RocketOwl’s Green Space on The Indie Games Magazine


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