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Our Plundered Seas

The game I envisioned is called “Plundered Seas”. It is a Sims-type game, similar to the McDonalds game studied in class. It is single player and involves an interface of different choices one can make regarding fishing. Your avatar is a fisherman, yet this is not necessarily represented in the game (it is like you are looking out onto these scenes, putting the player behind the computer directly into the situation). There are two locations between which you can travel and make decisions. The first is the Seaside Town. Here, your fisherman can decide what he is going to catch, how he is going to catch it, and where he is going to fish. There is also an ATM to keep an eye on your finances. After these choices have been made, your fisherman and his boat (which varies based on the fishing method you select) move out onto the Open Ocean. Here, you fish. Each decision made in the seaside port has its consequences out on the ocean.


The focus of this game is sustainability of the world’s oceans. Therefore, it is best to choose methods that secure the best long-term result, and not go for the biggest short-term gain. For example, if you choose to bottom-trawl (a destructive fishing method which produces high levels of bycatch), your first and second hauls out in the ocean may be initially high, yet after a few hauls you will notice a severe decline in the fish in your area. If you opt for a more sustainable method, such as hook-and-line fishing or trolling, your initial catches may have lower yields than trawling would initially produce, yet over time you will see much greater profits than with more un-sustainable methods. The fish you decide to catch also plays an important role. Many species of fish are far more sustainable than others. For example, if you choose to fish for sharks or other large, long-lived species, you may receive more money per individual, but your catch will rapidly decline to extinction (especially if you combine that choice with trawling). Also, you can opt to fish for illegal species that yield extremely high profits, but more than likely you will be caught and heavily fined by the patrol boats who are also out on the ocean. This will also happen if you surpass the fishing limits, which differ for each species. If you choose to hunt whale, yellow-fin tuna, or another species in which Greenpeace takes a special interest, or if you are being particularly un-eco friendly, be prepared to encounter heavy damages to your vessel from passing Greenpeace boats. The location in which you choose to fish is also important. You can opt to fish in a wildlife refuge which may have high levels of certain species, but these waters are also heavily patrolled. The object of the game is to bring awareness to various fishing methods actually used today and the effect they are having to the world’s oceans. The player will soon realize the best choices to make, and these choices translate to being the most sustainable in the real world. Perhaps after playing this game, seafood consumers will look twice at the labels on their seafood, and question how it was caught and if that method is sustainable. They might think twice about eating tuna, a long-lived predatory species which is in global rapid decline. Hopefully this game will bring awareness and alarm to the often unheralded crisis of our Plundered Seas.


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