The mobile game aims to raise funds and create awareness on marine conservation
The role-playing game based on fishing aims to raise funds and create awareness on marine conservation and fishing sustainability.
“One year ago … my colleagues and I approached the WWF to begin a conversation around games with a cause. Shortly after, they invited us to join their media trip to the Wakatobi National Park in Sulawesi,” said Rokimas Soeharyo, COO and Co-Founder of Touchten.
“We came to believe that if the public becomes aware of these issues, then they will be in a better position to support marine conservation and fisheries sustainability efforts, before it is too late,” he concluded.
Fishing Town follows the story of Lukas, who lives in a fishing village in Indonesia’s Wakatobi islands. With his father, he goes on an adventurous fishing journey –involving a ‘mysterious legendary creature’—while the villagers depend on the catch they bring home.
Apart from being competitive because the goal is to catch as much fish as you can, users also learn about marine conservation by being friends with the villagers and expanding their fishing town.
Touchten targets one million downloads to support the cause.
An inspiring field trip
Like other games they produce, Touchten began by doing research followed by pre-production, production and testing process before the game is publicly available.
For this project, the research part involves living aboard WWF’s boat to monitor coral reefs in Wakatobi islands, so the team could see the issues faced by fishing communities.
“After research … we began trying out fun game ideas for our core mechanics of the games. I’m a fan of Natsume‘s ‘Reel Fishing’ and that became a reference for our core mechanics, which is the action of tug of war when hooking and reeling in a fish. After we have settled on a core mechanic, we then developed a story around it,” Soeharyo explained in an email to e27.
“While not all of the ideas coming out of the field trip made it into the game, we feel so grateful to be inspired by the people and the nature of Wakatobi,” he said.
The WWF team helped with references about fish species, as well as fishing and marine conservation best practices which are included in the game.
Gaming for a cause
The greatest challenge in developing the game was maintaining a balance between the competitive nature of gaming, and the conservation message it wants to convey.
“The greatest challenge has to be gamers’ tendency for competition. Being the best, getting the highest score, catching the most fish… This is challenging when overfishing is one of the issues we are trying to address,” Soeharyo said.
“So, [we] let players enjoy the game as any other mobile game, and then develop … short stories that is easy to digest, and also touch on issues of marine conservation,” he concluded.
Touchten are looking forward to explore future projects with the organisation in the future.
Image Credit: Touchten
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