By Hunter Fenollol
It a first. Whether you’re checking in or enjoying the After Party during the New York Game Awards this year, you’ll notice a virtual reality station in the venue’s lobby, our first ever NY Game Awards game demo. This area will be home to Astrea Media’s the Lost City of Mer experience. Interactive and eye-opening in a way that only the VR medium can deliver, Lost City of Mer tells the story of an undersea civilization decimated by climate change. Players will explore, interact and learn about today’s environmental issues through wondrous virtual creatures who are suffering in a polluted ocean biome. You just need a ticket to the show to enjoy the experience.
Guided by alarming data from studies completed by the United Nations and the input of environmental scientists, the fantastical underwater world of Mer is based on scientific facts. In order to progress, players must save the Mer(maids) from extinction in an ocean dying around them. This includes repairing secret coral gardens threatened by pollution, creating habitats for Mer, and exploring the destroyed civilization. These actions have immediate impact in the virtual world and teach individuals how their real world deeds translate to the larger world around them. A smartphone app reinforces these teachings, calculating user steps and reduced carbon footprint in their daily life. Pairing app data with the virtual world, players will be rewarded for their real-world efforts in the game’s Mer Oasis Park or Mer Shell Trail.
When it’s released, Lost City of Mer will represent an innovative cross platform approach to climate change awareness, one that shows the beauty of life, and the dire stakes of our neglect. If the recent bushfires aren’t a wakeup call, New York City’s recent temperature spikes up to the mid 60s should hit close enough to home. We’re seeing the scary effects of climate change before our eyes. Like the Mer, every positive action we take to help the planet doesn’t just save the environment, it saves ourselves.
You can check out Lost City of Mer, take some photo opportunities and grab a drink or two in the lobby before the show and at our After Party. See you soon!