2nd UNEP-DHI Eco Challenge 2014
In 2013, Serious Games Association organized the first UNEP-DHI Eco Challenge together with INMEET CMS Pte Ltd under the leadership of Ivan Boo. The main purpose was to use a serious game, Aqua Republica, developed by UNEP-DHI to teach our children from the age of 14-18 years on how to develop a city-state by balancing economic returns with natural resources. This is a first of its kind serious game approach to create greater awareness amongst the children in Asia. The first year was a complete failure. There were only 13 individual participants.
When the challenge was re-launched in 2014, the organizing team was better prepared. Over 120 students from 5 different Asian countries signed up for the competition. Students were given a week to improve on their own score so that they could scale the leader board to become the ultimate ‘eco-builder’ at the end of the competition. During the week, students could tap into the resources that were available to them including the Google, teachers, parents & friends. At the end of the week, the teachers were simply astonished at how much self learning and motivation was demonstrated by their students.
3rd UNEP-DHI Eco Challenge 2015
In the following year, Serious Games Association again partnered with INMEET CMS Pte Ltd to organize the Eco Challenge 2015. This time round, we asked each of the country to organize their own national level competition before we host the International Eco Challenge. There were 9 different countries participating with well over 900 plus students in total.
We were very honored to have K-Water of South Korea supporting and hosting the International Eco Challenge 2015. K-Water hosted a three Eco Challenge Camp and a final Awards Ceremony in conjunction with the World Water Forum.
At the national level competition, each country used the UNEP-DHI game for the students to challenge each other to be the top ‘eco-builder’. At the International Eco Challenge, 9 teams (the top team from each country) was invited to South Korea to participate in a 3-day eco challenge camp. Instead of competing using the UNEP-DHI game, the teams were asked to develop their very own eco games. The student teams were taught basic game design and was given 2 days to develop their game. On the last day of the eco challenge camp, the students presented their work.
The top 3 winning teams got to present their final work at the World Water Forum in South Korea where the final winner was selected. It is fun and engaging to compete using serious games. More importantly, we realized that the student teams gained more when they were given the opportunity to build their own games. They understood what it meant to be fun in their own perspective yet they need to deliver a learning objective. That made the whole game development process much more meaningful and insightful.
Serious Games Association ended the Eco Challenge series in 2015 as the rights to use the UNEP-DHI game was not extended by DHI thereafter to us. DHI decided to organize their own competition from 2016 onward.