Kerlow, Isaac; Khadafi, Muhammad; Zhuang, Harry; Zhuang, Henry; Azlin, Aida; and Aisyah, Suhaimi. 2012. “Earth girl: a multi-cultural game about natural disaster prevention and resilience.” Advances in Computer Entertainment, 521‑524. Springer.
The Earth Girl games were created by a team of researchers and artists, led by Dr. Isaac Kerlow, at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University. It’s a set of interactive games designed to teach players to make strategic decisions during disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. There are two games in the market: Earth Girl 1: The Natural Disaster Fighter and Earth Girl 2: Preparing for the Tsunami; a third one is under development: Earth Girl 3: Climate.
The common objective of the three games is to save lives by empowering vulnerable communities with disaster preparedness and survival skills. The user is the protagonist of the game. Earth Girl is the guide, a nod to the disproportionate number of female victims of the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. The narrative is based on stories told by survivors, especially children, who live in the tsunami‑hit coastal regions of Asia.
The gameplay is simple and interactive; the more you play, the more information you receive about the mechanics and science behind disasters. This app provides proactive learning and is an exemplary application of ICT (information & communications technology) for disaster management and preparedness. Earth Girl 2 is available in English, Thai, Tamil, Indonesian, and French, and is optimized for Android and IOS.
Touted as a Super Mario for the 21st century by the communications website Sci Dev Net, Earth Girl 2 has been recognized as a top interactive media project by Singapore’s National Research Foundation. It is an excellent resource to teach young kids awareness of disaster risk and the importance of knowledge in dealing with disasters. It may also be a useful tool to instigate discussion or to inspire creative projects in undergraduate classrooms.
Gayathri Haridas, Public Policy & Global Affairs, Nanyang Technological University