Game Changers

Competition Details


by Tane Ross
Co-authors: J o n a t h a n Fr i s t a d , J e n n i f e r S o r e n s e n

Trashlandia is an entertaining and informative computer game that links information and real-world
experiences, thereby educating children (ages 7-12) and their parents about their personal impact on
the ecological environment. Trashlandia leverages the existing saturation of video games and children's
familiarity with digital devices to provide immediate feedback about their waste disposal

Premise and Gameplay:
The child adopts a "MudaMonster" that exists in the parallel world of Trashlandia; a magical land
overwhelmed by landfill waste transported from our world. The player's objective is to help their
MudaMonster and Trashlandia by eliminating this flow of waste via their real-world choices. The
monster's growth, abilities, gameplay success and story advancement, are dependent on the player's
choices and behaviors in the real-world. Points are earned through three categories of activity
entered via the MudaMonster Minder device or downloadable smartphone application. Each of three
successive categories gain more points than the previous one. These include; Responsible disposal
behaviors, Creative Alternatives to disposal, and Participation in Community/group events.

Behavior Change:
Children are inspired to change their behavior as they learn about and model responsible waste
disposal activities that have an effect on their MudaMonster. Parents are provided with tools to give
constructive feedback and enter into discussion with their children about the broader context of these
activities. Trashlandia scales appropriately as the game progresses, moving the child through three
levels of awareness. 1) Trashlandia re-enforces responsible, learned waste disposal behavior within
the child's Personal Sphere of Influence through immediate feedback. 2) Trashlandia helps modify
the child's disposal behavior within their Immediate Sphere of Influence by educating about
substitution/reuse. Waste disposal becomes a household responsibility. 3) Trashlandia helps move the
child toward becoming an Advocate for sustainability in their External Sphere of Influence as they
learn to engage the issue in group activities. Waste disposal becomes a community responsibility.

Future Impact:
The immediate output of the game will be measured in terms of points earned by individuals, online
community membership gains, real-world event participation and funds generated for environmental
causes. The long-term impact will be measured by; less trash in landfills and in communities, more
recycling and composting, and an increased pressure on institutions to provide more sustainable
options in resource usage. Trashlandia will help to educate a generation of systems thinkers who are
advocates for the environment, growing up to demand significant progress toward a sustainable
society for the future.