In a quest to empower the future generation to care more for the environment, students from the De La Salle College of St. Benilde (DLS-CSB) and game development company, Senshi Labs, have created Zero Hero, an eco-conscious game that teaches zero-waste principles for kids – and kids at heart.
Nearly 16.6 million metric tonnes of waste is generated each year in the Philippines, with an average Filipino contributing to 150kg of solid waste per year – enough garbage to fill in 23,279 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), 52 per cent of this comes from biodegradable waste such as food scraps, kitchen waste, and garden waste, 28 per cent are recyclable, and the remaining 20 per cent are residual waste or consumer electronics.
Unfortunately, despite the amount of biodegradable and recyclable waste in the country, improper garbage disposal causes them to end up in landfills, oceans, and affect living organisms’ habitats.
The team developed Zero Hero to help teach children about zero waste, its principles, processes, and benefits to the planet. They hope that kids and even their parents apply what they learn in the game to their everyday lives.
“Admittedly, it is quite difficult to develop environment-friendly habits, but every little change in habits can help, and we wanted to make these practices seem easy to turn into a routine,” shares Dr Beatrice Lapa, founder of Senshi Labs.
The game begins with Zera, the main character, introducing herself and discussing basic zero waste principles and the world’s waste problem. Zera is the teacher for the entire game, who guides the player to become a Zero Hero.
Some of the zero waste principles mentioned in the game include refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, and rot, with challenges that cover waste segregation and recycling. As the player correctly sorts the items, they are rewarded with Fun Facts and in-game repurposable toys. At the end of the game, the player is rewarded with a surprise upon unlocking all the Fun Facts.
“We envision Zero Hero to be a talking piece among family members and a game that would inspire the family to adopt Zero Waste practices,” Elijah Agustin, game designer, Zero Hero told Viable.Earth.
The development team consists of John Michael Gueco and Marco Alessandro Severino as artists, Roumaine Terri Soliveres as programmer and project manager, and Elijah Francis Agustin as the game’s designer. Dr Beatrice Margarita V Lapa and Felix V Palabrica from Senshi Labs served as the group’s advisers.