Let’s celebrate and protect our oceans through games

At Chaos Theory, we love to make video games inspired by our incredible world. We take the vastness of the oceans, beauty of our wildlife and stories of humans and transform them into meaningful digital experiences that can be enjoyed by everyone.

In celebration of World Oceans Day on June 8th 2022, it’s the perfect time to take a look at how ocean-themed games can encourage real social action and make a positive impact. The ocean covers over 70% of the Earth’s entire surface area, and more than 3 billion people depend on the resources it provides. However, it’s threatened by overfishing, pollution, climate change and general human negligence that all have dire effects on our ocean’s health and the marine life.

Our oceans are in crisis and need our protection now. Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean is the theme for 2022, it’s all about conserving marine resources for future generations. We need to teach each other how we can help our oceans healthy for generations to come.

How can games help with ocean conservation?

According to a 2021 report by IGEA, over 80% of adults in Australia agree that games can increase specialist knowledge on certain topics better than if just in a static presentation. Games have the ability to transform the players using human psychology to teach skills, motivate certain behaviours and even inspire change. You can read more about how this is possible in our free eBook - Create Games that Solve Problems.

Video games are modern tools that can help drive many purposes. Ocean-centric games can help:

Educating Players:

Video games offer an interactive platform to teach players about ecosystems, marine habitats, and the diverse species within them. Through gameplay and narratives, players learn about ocean conservation, the balance of marine ecosystems, and the threats they face.

Reaching a Diverse Audience:

Ocean-centric games transcend boundaries, reaching a global audience. By immersing players in underwater experiences, regardless of location, these games spark interest and awareness among people who may not have direct access to the ocean.

Encouraging Tangible Action:

Video games prompt real-world action by encouraging players to take steps towards ocean conservation. Through in-game prompts, educational materials, and partnerships with conservation organizations, players can sign petitions, make donations, or participate in clean-ups.

Generating Real Results and Insights:

Ocean-centric games contribute to scientific research by collecting live data for marine research. Collaboration with marine biologists and organizations allows players to contribute data while playing. This data helps monitor biodiversity, track environmental changes, and inform conservation efforts.

We’re big believers that in order to create unforgettable games, we must first be the catalysts for environmental change. There are a myriad of games do more than entertain - they're helping to conserve our oceans through the power of play.

Here’s our list of 11 games you can play to celebrate the ocean:

Bleached AZ by Chaos Theory and We Are Rad (2019)

Platform: Android and iOS

Bleached Az is a mobile game where players slash and slice away plastics, trawler nets and other hazards to protect the precious coral below.

To combat climate change in the real world, 20% of revenue goes toward Carbon Neutral’s ‘Plant-a-Tree’ program. Over 250 trees have been planted since the game’s release which equates to more than 43,000kgs of CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere.

Dumb Ways to Kill Oceans by Playmob (2018)

Platform (PC and MacOS)

In tandem with the UN’s Global Goal (Life Below Water), Playmob introduced the minigame “Dumb Ways to Kill Oceans”. Contrary to the name, the game provides much needed factoids, as well as small ways the player can improve the life of our oceans.

The three key themes in the minigames revolve around plastic pollution, coral reef degradation and ocean warming. The minigame has so far achieved more than 200k pledges to ocean conservation.

NeMO-Net by NASA (2020)

Platform: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android

NeMO-Net combines environmental gaming with citizen science. It’s a single player game where you explore and classify coral reefs.

The data is used to improve the machine learning of NASA’s Supercomputer, Plaeiades, which assesses the health of coral reefs from around the world. The game has reached 300 million people and received over 76,000 classifications so far which provides valuable data for coral reef conservation efforts.

Koral by Carlos Coronado (2019)

Platform: PC and Nintendo Switch

In Koral the player will dive into the beautiful underwater world as a sea current. Solve puzzles to bring coral reefs back to life.

Featuring unique gameplay and light puzzle elements and various challenges you will learn about stunning sea facts and discover 15 different sea environments and 32 collectibles. The core gameplay features plenty of accessibility features to appeal to a wider audience.

ecoOcean by Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (2012)

Platform: PC and macOS

The game was developed for a special exhibition at the German Museum in Munich by the Kiel University, in order to bring awareness and responsibility of fisheries. 4 players take  part in the game together, allocating resources and completing tasks to get the goal of catching the most fish in one session.

If the players do not communicate well they will overfish the pool and run out of resources quickly. The idea is to take this model and use it in experimental economic research for marine protected areas.

Cards Against Calamity by 1st Playable Production and the Environmental Law Institute (2018)

Platform: PC and MacOS

While not entirely about ocean conservation, Cards Against Calamity was originally a tabletop card game, later developed into an online game. The goal is for players to understand the meaning of resilience and community when facing disasters.

In it, you are the mayor of a small coastal town, balancing the needs of various stakeholders. The main of which are the fishermen, small businesses and tourists. You must guide your community through all manner of natural and man-made disasters and learn important environmental lessons along the way.

Pirate Fishing by Al Jazeera and Altera Studios (2012)

Platform: PC and MacOS

Pirate Fishing brings players into the world of illegal large-scale fishing through the eyes of investigative journalism. The player investigates an unlawful fishing operation off the coast of Sierra Leone, through emails, news clippings and tip-offs that bring to justice the companies behind the crimes. Players learn about how these trade practices take place and the adverse effects it has on marine life as well as West African communities.

ABZŪ by Giant Squid (2016)

Platform: Playstation 4, Windows, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

Abzū is an atmospheric discovery game where you play as a Diver exploring the depths of the ocean. As you journey through the deep you discover hundreds of unique species of sea life and form connections with all of them. All of the ocean life are procedurally generated to how you play, and the dangers that lurk amongst you.

A screenshot of the cosy ocean game, Abzu

Loddlenaut by Moon lagoon (2023)

Platform: PC and MacOS

Loddlenaut follows you, the player, cleaning up ocean debris left behind by a spacefaring mega-corporation. You are repurposing said debris to upgrade your equipment and taking care of Loddles who depend on you to clean their environment. With every step you take to clean-up with space-themed ocean, you revive more of the planet's lush ecosystem! For every sale of the game, Moon Lagoon makes a donation to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

A screenshot of the space-themed ocean game, Loddlenaut

KATOA: Oceans by Sankari Studios

Platforms: Apple App Store & Google Play Store

Players actions in this game directly help real-world action, in Katoa you are building a diverse and thriving ecosystem and must protect it against the 'Blight'. Players can explore and build environments on a variety of biomes from tropical to tundra. Points achieved by players in-game will translate to real world currency that the developers donate to ocean and wildlife conservation. So far over $50k has been raised through collective gaming action!

A mockup of the game Katoa on a iphone

Crab God by Chaos Theory (TBD)

Platform: PC

Crab God is an atmospheric underwater strategy game where you nurture a quirky family of Crablings and breathe life into to your underwater domain. You must defend the egg of the next crab god, cultivate enough food to sustain it, and migrate to deeper waters where it will hatch and become the new ocean caretaker. Chaos Theory has als partnered with dot.eco so every player that completes a challenge in game can translate that into real-worl action.

A screenshot of the ocean game, Crab God developed by Chaos Theory Games

Join us for World Oceans Day Live Stream 2022 🌏🌊🎮

To celebrate World Oceans Day next Wednesday we'll be playing some favourite ocean-themed games! Myself (Nico), our game designer Elric and marketing assistant Megha will discuss the impact videos can have on real-world problems. We're all big believers in the power of play, so we want to share how games can be entertaining as well as tools for change.

Wednesday 8th June 2022 ta 7pm AEST on Twitch https://www.twitch.tv/chaostheorygames