Video game offers players chance to protect Peruvian Amazon

By David Blanco Bonilla

Lima, Jul 11 (EFE).- Under threat from illegal logging and other forms of environmental destruction, Peru’s Amazon region needs all the conservation assistance it can get.

Now a new form of help is on the way from the most unlikely of sources – a video game that allows players to accumulate virtual square meters of rainforest.

Known as “Defensora Shihua,” the video game was created by a group of students and professors at the Lima-based Toulouse Lautrec Institute’s Video Game Design and Digital Entertainment Program.

In putting the game together, they received assistance from the conservationist non-governmental organization Arbio.

In real life, “Shihua” is a collared peccary who was found at a very young age by Arbio after becoming separated from her herd.

She was given that name in honor of the majestic, ancient shihuahuaco trees that are found in the Peruvian Amazon and are being overexploited for their use in wooden floors.

Arbio says the game aims to “convey the importance of protecting and preserving wildlife, as well as raise awareness about the dangers the Amazon region faces every day.”

In the game, “Shihua” must be guided to protect trees under threat from illegal logging.

Players try to gather up as many square meters as they can online.

The tracts of land they accumulate are then reflected in the preservation of real square meters of Amazon forest that Arbio manages and protects in the the Las Piedras River basin of the remote jungle region of Madre de Dios.


The coordinator of digital study programs at the Toulouse Lautrec Institute, Renzo Guido, told Efe that the video game began to be conceived inside the classroom.

Students did “all the research” and worked on the “concept, idealization, development, the first Alpha, the first Beta,” he said.

Those tasked with bringing the project to fruition were students Mateo Cayo, Cesar Ramos and Sergio Nicolini, as well as professors Pablo Mansilla and Paz Nieto.

Alumni and other instructors at the university also participated on aspects such as design and artwork, Guido said.

“We didn’t stay in the conceptualization stage. We made the product and we went even beyond that, saying that the video game truly was going to save something that’s tangible, that’s being very mistreated,” he added.

The game is already available for download for different operating systems, and “there are people who are (now) playing it,” Guido said.

“Anyone who wants to help, what they have to do is play, accumulate more points and more square meters.”


Related Articles

Back to top button