Will MiniMonos save the Earth?
Will it save the Earth? Well, no, not all by itself. It’s a cute online kids’ game, not a magic wand. But it does a decent job of combining a sustainability message with a fun online gameworld, without being too heavy on the moralising (unlike a lot of other ‘environmental’ games⋆).
MiniMono players have a monkey avatar and can hang out in their treehouse, chat to other monkeys (they have around a million players worldwide), explore the island, and play games - all the usual paraphernalia of a virtual gameworld. But the MiniMonos gameplay aims to normalise sustainability, with games which include cleaning a lagoon to encourage fish to come back to it, and recycling your treehouse rubbish.
There’s an eco section, where you can become an ecomonkey by completing real-life projects and uploading photos, which is a nice touch. And at a company level, buying a membership provides clean drinking water for children in India, they support the WWF Tiger initiative, and they’ve adopted four orangutans. (Aww.)
MiniMonos claim not to want to constantly encourage kids to buy stuff, but there are plenty of buying opportunities within the game (using banana chips as currency), and they’re apparently considering UK marketing opportunities. So it’s hardly anti-capitalism in action (is anyone working on MiniAnarchists.com?). At least their gift cards are made of recyclable FSC-certified cardboard, and some in-game purchases, like these lion suits, support real-world conservation projects.
It won’t quite save the Earth, but it might help kids to think a little more about sustainability.
(⋆Not everything on that list is child-suitable)