There is no doubt that kids are spending more and more time in front of home computers these days – surfing, gaming, and tuning in to the power of virtual connectivity. Couple this with more sedentary lifestyles, childhood obesity, and pressing environmental concerns, and there is a heck of a lot that we have to be engaged with as parents. One of our readers at Inhabitat tipped us off on a new game that is meant to teach (or rather visually demonstrate) the excesses of environmental and household consumption. ‘Eco Ego’ is a quirkily animated foray into the nature of ecology, but all in all, we were amused by the game’s cute graphics and well-intended message.
Eco Ego is somewhat tricky to decipher – mostly because the actions and buttons are so tiny on screen and the character is, well, a bit of an aphid-like Teletubby. That said, the goal is to reward the player with smart, eco-friendly choices like turning off household lights, properly regulating the thermostat, opting for alternative modes of transportation, eating healthily, and even shopping at the market with a reusable tote. The state of the game’s surroundings and atmosphere is impacted by the ‘positive or negative outcome’ of your actions and red and green meters also gages how you are faring along the way.
I am not sure how many kids would really attach their egos to a game like this – it seems geared to adults and their good intentions to do right and play right. That said, I guess that it cannot be a bad thing if leaves falling off a tree in one fell swoop or mini-smokestacks on the horizon might help to get a child to think more about environmental responsibility – right under one’s roof. I would honestly prefer to simply go on a hike or cook a farmer’s market meal with my family and talk about the issues, but for some, this might be the only way to penetrate the world beyond the glare of the computer screen.