Ferruginous Hawk: Eco-Detective
Publisher: Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA), Canada
Target Group: 10-13
Type of game: Educational Adventure
This game is about species at risk in Canada. The player joins “Ferruginous Hawk”, the Eco-Detective, to search the missing citizens of “Prairieville”. Some clues are provided where the animal might live and the player joins Ferruginous Hawk in flying over an area of land, looking at different habitats to trace the missing animals down.
This game is actually an excellent mixture between an educational game and an adventure game for children. While the introduction and the story about the Eco-Detective suggest that the player embarks on an adventure, it is also clear that ten animals have to be linked to their natural habitats, learning about endangered species.
Elements of the game
Starting the game, the player can read one page with simple instructions, where it is explained how to go through the game: the player has to use the arrow keys
to fly over a terrain, searching for the animals. A second introductory screen presents Ferruginous Hawk, showing how different animals call him to tell him that their fellow animals have disappeared from Prairieville. The player is encouraged to join Ferruginous Hawk on his quest to find the animals.
There are ten animals missing, namely the Burrowing Owl, the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog, the Loggerhead Shrike, the Long-Billed Curlew, the Monarch Butterfly, the Greater Sage Grouse, the Short-Horned Lizard, the Swift Fox, the Yellow-Bellied Racer and also the Ferruginous Hawk. The player has to search for one animal at a time, getting a clue on which type of landscape / habitat to look for. The player has to use the arrow keys to fly over the terrain, getting information about the type of habitat she is flying over. Upon hitting the space-bar, Ferruginous Hawk flies down to ask the animal that he finds there whether it is the one the player is currently looking for. In very funny and indeed charming dialogues, it is then explained why the guess of the player was right or wrong, giving further hints for the search.
When all the animals are found, it is explained that mainly man-made problems like habitat loss / fragmentation, human interactions and chemicals are responsible for the disappearance of the animals that the player has searched. But what should one do in such a situation? Human beings are not only part of the problem, they can also be part of the solution: why not create an online game that informs about the problem, says Ferruginous Hawk… This is just one example of the wit and charm of this game.
How biodiversity is presented
The game focuses on endangered species in Canada, showing how and why the ten animals in the game are driven out of their natural habitats. Man’s influence on the living conditions of endangered species is central to the dialogues between the Hawk and the other animals.
Best practice because:
- a very straightforward and hands-on approach to the problem of endangered species
- good way of presentation, intuitive to play, good sound
- very funny dialogues, with the Eco-Detective Ferruginous Hawk starring as a strong character