WildAid's Galapagos Program featured as an Interactive Game
Every year in the Galapagos Island, poachers illegally kill thousands of sharks, a practice that has brought sharks in the region to the edge of extinction. Elf Island, the virtual world that empowers kids to make a difference in the real world through online game play, this week announced its second GoodQuest,Ô challenging kids around the world to help protect these endangered animals through a partnership with WildAid, a non-profit working to stop the illegal "fining" of sharks in the Galapagos.
Through a newly coined term called Mirrored Gaming,Ô Elf Island works directly with non-profit partners like WildAid to determine a real world project to support – in this case, protecting sharks - and then mirrors an online game to bring the project to life.
"Kids follow the news through TV, the Internet, at home and at school – they see the challenges that many people, animals and our environment face in our world. Our feeling is why not create an online game that is fun while at the same time triggering real world results, said Liz Kronenberger, Co-Founder, Good Egg Studios. "Partnering with great non-profits like WildAid, kids see the positive effect they are making by helping with shark preservation and at the same time understand why it is important to get involved."
In the Virtual World of Elf Island: Players go underwater as sharks to help search patrol zones for poachers. While navigating through timed underwater maze, Elf Islanders collect coins and free captured sharks for extra points. When successful, they find poachers' boats and tag them with GPS units.
In the real world of the Galapagos Islands: In the Galapagos, park wardens use airplanes and boats to track down fishermen who are illegally fining sharks. The airplanes give the park wardens a bird's eye view of the fishing zones, guiding game wardens' boats to the fishermen so that they can be arrested.
The more boats the park wardens can use, the more illegal fishermen they can catch. Unfortunately, many of their boats are in need of expensive repairs. Through this partnership, Elf Island's Good Egg Studios will make donations to pay the cost to repair many of these boats, so that many more poachers can be stopped. The more boats that are in working order, the more wardens can be out patrolling for poachers.
As part of the company's operational structure, Elf Island has already provided funding to repair one boat. When the kids playing Elf Island meet the collective GoodQuest goal, additional funding will be made by the company to repair more boats in the Galapagos Islands.
"We know that by presenting WildAid's mission in a way that is emotive, relatable and fun, kids will stand behind the cause and help bring change by Gaming for Good in Elf Island," said Craig Kronenberger, president and co-founder, Good Egg Studios. "Ultimately, it is up to the kids to determine the success of the GoodQuest."
Throughout this GoodQuest, WildAid's initiatives are woven into Elf Island's interactive environment using multimedia, social networking, storytelling and a virtual economy. Kids also have the opportunity to learn more about the location and culture of the Galapagos Islands and see through real photographs why and who is benefiting by their gaming efforts.
"Elf Island's Gaming for Good fits perfectly into WildAid's mission of conservation through communication. We know that Elf Island will not only provide a fun place for everyone involved, but reach a whole new group of advocates in the fight to protect sharks and other threatened animals," said Jason McArthur, WildAid Communications. "We really value this relationship and look forward to sharing our mission with kids that are passionate about making a difference in our world."
WildAid is the second nonprofit to benefit from Elf Island's Mirrored Gaming model. Future Elf Island GoodQuests are in production with other non-profits that also help people in need, as well as organizations that help with environmental and animal protection.
- Polar Bears International: Tracking virtual polar bears and polar ice caps helps protect real polar bears and their environments in the Arctic.
- Plant-It 2020: Planting virtual trees helps plant real trees in Niger.
With parental permission, and a basic membership that is free of charge, kids can enter and play limited offerings in Elf Island. In addition, as paid subscribers, kids can become an active participant in GoodQuests, chat and participate in game play. Kids also have the unique ability to unveil secret passageways, communicate with hybrid-animals, participate in an economic marketplace and ultimately learn the Secret of Elf Island.
Elf Island instills positive social and environmental values in a child's life while they are having fun.
More than 78% of kids ages 6-11 play video games online*
83% of kids believe they can make a difference**
Every element of Elf Island's game play supports individuality, self-expression and character building:
- Kids have access to 2,000 variations of personalization; include gender, hairstyles, skin, hair and eye color, and eight different action sequences for their Avatars.
- To heighten team building, belonging and collaboration, the site will soon offer a tribe feature for Elf Islanders. Every member will have the option of joining or starting a tribe. The kids maintain their individual identities, but gain a sense of belonging.
- Elf Island fosters healthy friendships through interaction with elves and animals. The animals give a personal response and provide tips, guidance and clues about Elf Island, ultimately leading to the secret of Elf Island.
- Elf Island uses real moderators and robust dictionary chat to ensure safety is maintained and enforced at all times.
*MediaMark Research and Intelligence, December 2007
** Just Kids, Inc., September 2008
WildAid's (www.wildaid.org) mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade within our lifetimes. To achieve this, WildAid focuses on raising awareness to reduce the demand for threatened and endangered species products and to increase public support for wildlife conservation. WildAid is a non-profit 501(c )3 organization headquartered in San Francisco, with representation in China, India, Galapagos, London and Canada.
About Good Egg Studios
Good Egg Studio's Elf Island is the first tween virtual world specifically created to instill positive social and environmental values into the world's future stewards. Elf Island turns online gaming efforts into tangible offline results through nonprofit partnerships and Mirrored Gaming. Partners include Habitat for Humanity, Plant-It 2020, WildAid and Polar Bears International. Good Egg Studios invented Gaming For Good, Mirrored Gaming and GoodQuests and is an independent children's interactive entertainment developer that delivers entertaining game play for tweens that inspires, rewards actions and builds awareness of social issues around the world. Craig and Liz Kronenberger a dynamic husband and wife duo that are also veterans in the online gaming industry founded Good Egg Studios and Elf Island in June 2007. Elf Island is a property of Good Egg Studios. www.elfisland.com