Primary school children can become vital aid workers in a new Irish video game that mixes fun with serious global issues like hunger and climate change. Sustainimals is a free online game where the player must support a community devastated by a massive storm and flood that destroyed homes, water sources and food crops.
The game also features fun mini-games for the player to complete to get aid supplies. They include capturing compostable items in a brown bin when they fall from the sky and finding locally grown items at a farmer’s market.
It was produced by five third year game design students at TU Dublin in collaboration with the international humanitarian organization Concern Worldwide.
“Games can be educational and incredibly fun to play, which is why we created Sustainimals,” game developer Niamh Germaine (22) from Graiguecullen told Carlow.
“We wanted to emphasize the importance of sustainability in our game and the need for everyone to live with each other and with our environment in a more balanced way.
“The lead actor is a cute cartoon animal called Wasiwasi (Swahili for Concern) who wants to live sustainably with the other animals in the community – that’s why we called him Sustainimals.
“We really hope that those who play our game develop a greater level of empathy and understanding towards those who struggle with food insecurity today.”
Niamh and the other developers on his team – Matthias Greferath (21) from Stillorgan from Dubliner, Sonny O’Mahony (21) from Raheny, Kevin O ‘Halloran (20) from Knocklyon and Serena Manassero (26) from Swords – created Sustainimals. in just 12 weeks.
They created the game for children aged 9 to 13 and are hoping it will be played in schools across the country – but it is already receiving great reviews from students in schools who were able to play the game before it went live. exit.
“Sustainimals is one of those games that you can learn but also have fun with,” said Jaydyn Gannon (11) of St Brendan’s Boys in Artane, Dublin.
Concern Worldwide said it was “honored and very grateful” to have been invited to be a TU Dublin partner with this game, which shows some of the work its own aid workers are doing today in 23 of the world’s top countries. poorest in the world.
“We congratulate the students at TU Dublin who created this fun and engaging game with Concern in mind, for which we are very grateful,” said Noeleen Doyle, School and Youth Manager at Concern.
“They created a game that can inspire a whole generation of children about the importance of living sustainably as we try to reduce global hunger, climate change and violence.”
Sustainimals is one of TU Dublin’s Serious Games projects, which gives game design students the experience of developing games that entertain and educate.
Each year, students develop these types of games for non-profit organizations such as charities and social enterprises.
Veteran Irish game developer Peter Lynch, who teaches game design at TU Dublin, said he was “very proud” of his students and the games they created for worthy causes.
The university’s gaming program and students will move to the new TU Dublin Grangegorman campus after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Sustainimals is available to play for free on the Concern website at https://www.concern.net/sustainimals-game and will work on up-to-date mobile and PC devices.