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Can a mobile game really Save the Seas?

Activism's call of duty.

What if the aim of a mobile game wasn't to make money but to raise awareness for a serious environmental issue?

What if instead of being intermittently coerced into paying you were, instead, intermittently coerced into sharing facts from the game about that environmental issue? And what if there wasn't a leaderboard at the end but a petition to lend your voice to?

Save the Seas is the peculiar mobile game (also on Android) trying to achieve this. It's a simple - and free (donations are voluntary) - game of cat (fish) and mouse (boat), where every time you're caught you're presented with a fact. "Dolphins jump out of water to save energy," read one. "Every year, fishing nets kill up to 300,000 whales, dolphins and turtles around the world," read another.

From my iPhone.

Yet another said that dead zones in the ocean - areas of water without enough oxygen to support sea life on the bottom - have increased by one third in two years, which is frightening.

I met one of the key people behind Save the Seas while visiting Poland a few weeks back. His name is Omar Ramirez.

He wrote on the game's website how making Save the Seas had taken "a huge toll" on him. He's swum with a whale and looked it in the eye, and when he did, "I saw a soul," he shared.

"You see, the problem is that we are NOT aware. We are IGNORANT of the problem. Heck, if we knew half the problem (like overfishing tuna) I bet we wouldn't let this happen. We are killing our oceans for a piece of paper - AKA 'money'.

"Eating all our oceans, killing everything, destroying everything. I hope that one day everyone, in order to finish their high-school diploma, has to finish a SCUBA diving course. Why? Well, if the oceans die... we die," he wrote. "It's simple.

"Maybe, just maybe, the little [bit] we do can make a difference..."

The Change.org page I was taken to petitioned Greenpeace to spread the word about the game, which seems like an odd way to go about it. And there's a barely a whisper of support so far: 11 signatures. Still, I suppose the heart is in the right place; it's no Dungeon Keeper.

Speaking of hearts being in the right place: last year I tracked down the creator of Ecco the Dolphin - an old, environmentally messaged game about the sea. But creator Ed Annunziata wasn't the seaweed-toting eco-warrior I expected.

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About the Author

Robert Purchese avatar

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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