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Yellow Stone Style: Education & Participation in Food Chain

Video game looks into world of wolves

By STEVE KARNOWSKI, Associated Press Writer

MINNEAPOLIS – The new video game “WolfQuest” allows players to follow the call of the wild in the role of a wolf in Yellowstone National Park.

Players learn quickly, with help from realistic graphics, that wolves do a lot of running — across plains, through forests and up and down steep slopes.

“You have to learn how to hunt, survive, defend your territory and ultimately find a mate and establish your own pack,” said project director Grant Spickelmier, assistant education director at Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

The first episode, “Amethyst Mountain,” was officially released Dec. 20 as a free download at http://www.wolfquest.org. Spickelmier said the game had been downloaded 13,500 times by Wednesday.

The Minnesota Zoo developed “WolfQuest” with Eduweb, an educational software developer in St. Paul, on a $508,253 National Science Foundation grant. Other partners include the National Zoo in Washington, the Phoenix Zoo, Yellowstone and the International Wolf Center in Ely.

The game is aimed at ages 10 to 15 because kids that age have largely stopped going to zoos and are more interested in things like video games, Spickelmier said.

“We’re hoping to capture some of those kids back with this game,” he said, adding that the Minnesota Zoo also hopes to interest kids in wolf conservation and biology.

Eleven-year-old Riley Breckheimer, of Apple Valley, tried out “WolfQuest” at its launch party at the zoo and declared it “pretty cool.” He said he took down one snowshoe hare and got an elk about halfway down. The game also gave him new respect for wolves.

“They can run over miles and miles of area just to get to one elk to get something to eat,” he said. “It’s not like humans where humans have to go just a few blocks to the grocery store.”

It’s not the first time a zoo has offered computer games. The San Diego Zoo, National and the New York Zoos and Aquarium have games for younger kids on their Web sites. Nor is it the first time a video game has simulated wolf life: the DOS game “Wolf” was released in 1994.

Video game looks into world of wolves – Yahoo! News

This sounds really intriguing!  We first heard about Kids & field trips online– a future hope from the MacArthur Foundation… but this is a unique spin on it.

Sounds like a really interesting experience– reminds me a bit of World of Warcraft meets Oregon Train painted in Balto

It also has a rugged edge to it– for an educational experience.  Boys everywhere be praised.

I will have to take a closer look at it & the community opportunities it may or may not have (seeing as their target age demo is 10-14…).  I’ll add more after a bit of further inspection.

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