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10

Leader Of The Pack

Edutainment seems to have reached a new plateau of electronical achievement when Minnesota Zoo announce they are releasing an online wolf simulator. Wolfquest allows y’all to pretend to be wolves, either online or offline, learning realistic wolf behaviour like catching sick elk and howling.

Is this really what we want from our videogames? The slightly scary child featured in the video has clearly reverted to a feral state, like a keyboard-bound Mowgli… I jest of course: there aren’t enough wild-animal simulators, and I look forward to the day we can all play a bumblebee MMO.

This depicts the wolf urination menu.

Project Director Grant Spickelmeir says of the idea that games have truncated kids’ outdoor play activities:

As a former video game junkie (I can’t say current because having two kids under the age of five severely limits my playing time) and an environmental educator – I do believe you can have the best of both worlds. I believe you can use video game technology to create amazing worlds and experiences that can help players understand and interact with the real world in new ways. This is what we are hoping to accomplish with WolfQuest. If all players do when they finish the game is say “that was fun” and move on with their everyday lives – I won’t feel like we have succeeded. We want players to experience the world of the wolf in such a compelling way that they will be intrigued to learn more.

But don’t try running with a wolfpack in real life, kids. It’ll only end in tears/viscera.

WolfQuest will be available for purchase in December ’07.

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Jim Rossignol

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