Some random internet stumbling led me to what promises to be a very cool project for nature lovers, eductors, kids, 90’s kids and the young at heart: Phylomon. It’s currently in the early stages of development, but the gist of the project is that the Pokemon phenomenon was able to capture the minds of millions of children, so a well-crafted trading card game based on real animals could be both a good game and a useful tool.
I’m all for it – children growing up in the city often have precious few chances to interact with the natural environment, and I believe that appreciating the environment is extremely important. A game that is well designed can be fun, intellectually stimulating, and might inspire people to get out there and see the real thing (or at least be more inclined to protect it!). I might be a bit over-optimistic (I was a Magic: The Gathering tragic growing up, and played Pokemon, so this ticks all my boxes), but this has the prospect of being an excellent form of science communication.
They’ve currently put out a call for artistic contributions – whether they be graphically designed, drawn or real photograps – of animals, which may be selected for use on the finished product. I say ‘product’ – the whole process is open-source type stuff, which will be made available at no charge. Free games? Woohoo! I’m planning on submitting some photos of animals to the pool.