“Turtle Tale,” an educational Pinoy-made game about saving endangered sea turtles, is now available on Android devices.
Developed by Team Meowfia and published by Philippine game studio Senshi.Labs, “Turtle Tale” puts players in the shoes of a volunteer for the Turtle Conservation Society on Pawikan Island.
You’ll explore a small town, talk to the locals and other volunteers, and complete various tasks designed to save sea turtles (pawikan) by fighting plastic pollution.
“Save turtles, segregate waste, and upgrade island facilities!” says Team Meowfia.
“Turtle Tale” can be downloaded from its Senshi.Labs page.
Video game vs. plastic pollution
Plastic pollution is a global issue affecting all of marine life. Its effects on pawikan were on the minds of the Team Meowfia members when they were brainstorming thesis project ideas for their Interactive Entertainment and Multimedia Computing (IEMC) course at De la Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB).
“When we were discussing what topic we should use for our thesis, we suddenly remembered this video of a turtle with a straw in its nose,” said “Turtle Tale” Lead Designer Neal Patrick Padama.
At first, the team considered “making a game where plastic falls from the sky, and you (a turtle) have to avoid being hit by the debris,” said Artist Trina Pagtakhan.
The team eventually settled on the turtle conservation idea after their thesis adviser, DLS-CSB professor and Senshi.Labs founder Dr. Beatrice M. V. Lapa, expressed her approval of it.
In line with its central theme, “Turtle Tale” goes into some of the reasons why plastic is dangerous to pawikan. In one of the mini-games, players have to go diving for plastic bags, which the creatures often mistake for one of their favorite foods, jellyfish.
According to conservation organization WWF, eating plastic can choke, seriously injure, and even kill sea turtles. It can also “create pockets of air in their gut, making diving difficult.”
Around 52% of the world’s sea turtles have ingested plastic. A turtle has a 22% chance of perishing if it consumes a single piece of plastic. If 14 plastic items end up in its stomach, this likelihood increases to 50%. This is all the more troubling considering a majority of sea turtle species are endangered.
Team Meowfia hopes the game will “raise awareness about the issue of plastic pollution in a way that is simultaneously informative and entertaining,” said Sound Designer Maria Angelica Canta. “The team thought to utilize the immersive characteristic of the videogame medium to help facilitate deeper and more impactful learning.”
Launching ‘Turtle Tale’
Team Meowfia is happy with “Turtle Tale’s” launch.
“Honestly, we were all so excited and nervous (about the launch),” said Padama, adding that he couldn’t help but entertain thoughts such as “Is the game running as it’s supposed to be?” and “How would everyone react to it?”
“It was a challenging journey for everyone, so we’re all glad that we can finally show everyone what we’ve been working on for the past year!” said Pagtakhan.
“‘Turtle Tale’ is the team's first published game, so we feel incredibly proud to be able to share our work with the public,” said Canta. “We’re grateful to have had the opportunity to publish our game with the help of Senshi.Labs, as well as all the people that have helped along the way.”
Team Meowfia and Senshi.Labs plan to make “Turtle Tale” available on the Google Play Store.
At GDAP’s Game On 2019, “Turtle Tale” won the School Track awards for Best Mobile & Handheld and Best Game Art. — LA, GMA News