‘Trash Rage’ Blends VR Gaming With Environmental Education
Sort recyclables to save the Earth in this futuristic gamified learning experience.
It’s 2049 and planet Earth is a garbage-filled dump patrolled by hostile robots. Overwhelming trash from unrecycled plastics has made the planet near uninhabitable, so much so that a hostile A.I. has decided that humans don’t deserve this planet and has begun the process of wiping out humanity. We had our chance, and we blew it.
The humans who did survive the mass extinction have retreated to Mars, but now it’s finally time to return to Earth. As one of the last remaining survivors, you’ve made it your mission to make the blue planet habitable for humanity once again; proving that humans can change their wasteful habits and are deserving of such a beautiful world.
Trash Rage brings together gaming, education, and environmental awareness in a way that complies with real-world recycling laws, and addresses the impact of how the oceans, forests, and mountains are being destroyed by synthetic plastics to the point where even wildlife has been impacted.
Just recently, a young whale was found dead with 88 pounds of plastic in its stomach. What is worse is that the UNESCO estimates over 100,000 marine mammals die every year from plastic pollution – a horrifying statistic.
This is why Giant Lazer’s Trash Rage is one of the most important VR experiences out there.
Gameplay in Trash Rage is fast-paced, but approachable. You enter into a futuristic VR world wearing a special exoskeleton that will help you make your way through the trash-ridden Earth. With the help of two trustworthy robots, you’ll sort as much trash as you can by catching various items that your robotic friends dig up and throw in your direction. You must then toss those items into their proper recycle bins and slowly clear the area of all the trash cluttering the ground.
Keep your eyes open though, that A.I. is out to there and it will stop at nothing to prevent you from completing your mission.
Though the VR experience feels like a game, Trash Rage is actually an incredibly effective educational tool that helps you develop better recycling habits by exposing you to the different types of biodegradable materials.
In an interview with VRScout, Jakub Korczyński, CEO of Giant Lazer said, “We hope that our game will help build greater environmental awareness and responsibility for our future,” adding, “The younger generations are the ones that will start real change. We want to give them VR as the tool of choice for learning about environmental issues.”
VR has already proven itself to be an extremely powerful learning tool, and Giant Lazer looks to put Trash Rage into the hands of schools and young learners around the world in the hopes of teaching them the importance of recycling and how we can protect our planet from the overwhelming problem that is plaguing us.
During a demo with students, Korczyński and his team saw some surprising results. “We quickly found students start shouting out the correct answers while watching other students in VR – where to throw in what, trying to help their peers,” adds Korczyński. “As a consequence, they had memorized the recycling system without even knowing it.”
Getting the message of Trash Rage accurate was incredibly important for Giant Lazer. The Poland-based company worked with companies that manage trash collection, recycling companies, environmental educators, teachers and schools, and even collaborated with a zoo in Wroclaw, Poland; all in an effort to accumulate as much data as possible for their gaming experience.
In the recent months, trash pickup has been trending on social media, with hashtags #trashchallenge and #trashtag going viral on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, inspiring people to take on the responsibility of cleaning up our planet.
Cody Hanson recently told Pretty52, “It’s the only outdoors we have. We all use it for many different things but it is the only one we have. So, let’s all do our part and treat it with respect,” continuing, “Let’s pick up after ourselves and then pick up extra. It only takes a few minutes of your time to pick up something that’ll far outlast us humans if left alone.”
Trash Rage is available on the Steam store, and is currently in early access, with plans to add more VR adventures dealing with other environmental issues, such as air pollution, in the near future. They are also raising funds that would add an AR companion app to the experience.
In a closing statement, Korczyński said, “I am very excited about how the #ARVRinEDU movement is developing and how the VR community is finding so many cool ways to teach using VR.”