As demonstrated by its slogan "Future Energy", the EXPO 2017 trade fair, running between 10 June and 10 September in the Kazakh capital city of Astana, deals with a key issue for humanity. However, this topic is very abstract and therefore especially difficult for children and young people to understand. In the German Pavilion, young visitors have the opportunity to learn about renewable energies and their potential through play. The games available include the German-Kazakh University's puzzle hunt and the mobile strategy game "Urban Corners" developed by the Goethe-Institut based in Almaty.
The search for the correct stickers
The puzzle hunt created by the German-Kazakh University in Almaty is aimed at children aged between 6 and 12. At the entrance to the German Pavilion, each child receives a game map featuring a picture-based story with several parts missing plus a sticker sheet. The aim of the game is to find out which sticker belongs in which empty space on the sheet by exploring the various exhibits.
The story begins by introducing the fictitious Schulz family, who are planning to travel to the EXPO in Astana in their environmentally friendly electric car. The family wants to use only clean energy sources for the journey, so the parents plan the route with charging stations in mind.
The children are tasked with solving the puzzle, receiving information to help them as they walk through the German Pavilion and learning about the advantages of the different renewable energies as they go. Once they have all of the stickers in the right place, the children receive a small souvenir as a reward.
An entire city to play with
"Urban Corners" is a location-based strategy game developed by the Goethe-Institut in Almaty for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The aim is to teach school pupils and students more about the EXPO theme of "Future Energy" in the form of a game.
The game can be played throughout the city of Astana, with some of the stations located at the EXPO site and in the German Pavilion itself, which is where the winners can also pick up their prizes. The game is available in four languages (German, English, Russian and Kazakh) and can be downloaded for free from the iTunes and Google Play app stores.
The history of the magical river
Let us set the scene: A long time ago, there was a magical river where the city of Astana is located today. The river was made of the five magical energies—fire, water, wind, earth and time—all of which were protected by guardians. However, one day the guardians disappeared suddenly and the river ran dry.
Before they start, players choose for which element they wish to be a guardian. The aim of the game is to discover the secret behind the disappearance of the guardians and to revive the river. To do this, players must find the energy particles for the five magical energies. These are hidden in real-world locations in Astana, where players must complete tasks such as answering questions, finding and scanning QR codes or taking creative photos and uploading them onto the Internet. Players are supported in their quest by two magical assistants, a wolf and a magpie. The accompanying "Book of the Guardians" also provides background information on each location and teaches the players about environmental issues.
The game runs until the end of 2018
For each task that they successfully complete, players receive energy particles that they can then deliver to the river. However, the players must ensure that the amount of each type of energy particle in the river is equal, otherwise the river will not grow. Players receive more points each time that they deliver the correct energy particle to the river, and the player that has collected the most points at the end wins the game.
The players can share information using social networks and even suggest new locations in order to earn points. The game does not end at the same time as the EXPO event but runs until the end of 2018. At this point, the design of the game will be transferred to the city council of Astana. The Goethe-Institut has been working closely with the city of Astana, the EXPO Committee and a regional environmental protection organisation on this project, and has also received support from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).
For more information, visit www.expo2017-germany.com
Press contact: Frank Bumann, Press Spokesman for the German Pavilion at EXPO 2017