Fresh From the Field — Postcards from Aotearoa, Method

2 months ago by

The kaupapa, intelligence and craft of Method’s Postcards from Aotearoa project are phenomenal. The NZ On Air funded game allows 5-9 year old tamariki to create their likeness as a character, pack for a journey, and join their “aunty Tui” on an adventure around Aotearoa’s remarkable landscape. The HTML5 game enables children to see themselves (with diverse representation), teaches Reo and Te Ao Māori while educating children on the cultural significance of our tourist hot spots, all while promoting domestic tourism.

The Brief

NZ On Air opened up funding to support the creation of games for HEIHEI. Their children’s media research consistently shows a strong appetite for games and they want to feed the HEIHEI games platform with new gaming content.

The HEIHEI games platform is a standalone platform and sits independently of the HEIHEI video content housed on TVNZ On Demand. This has created a smoother path for HTML5 game creation and management and presents an opportunity to expand the game selection.

HEIHEI provides a safe, ad-free environment for New Zealand children aged 5 – 9. HEIHEI content sets out to spark curiosity and creativity in tamariki through age-appropriate, quality local content that reflects Kiwi kids (accents, diversity, colloquialisms and values). Content may include educational aspects, and above all else, is engaging, fun and entertaining. HEIHEI were looking for visually impactful, technically simple games that will spark curiosity and imagination in tamariki. Interests and developmental stages vary among 5-9 year-olds and we could further refine the target audience of your game.

 

Our Idea

Postcards from Aotearoa, available exclusively on the HEIHEI platform, follows Aunty Tui as she invites tamariki (children) to join her in discovering epic New Zealand vacation spots. Wherever Aunty Tui goes she sends a postcard with clues which kids must decipher in order to pack the right gear and select the right destination before they’re whisked away to join her.

With restrictions in overseas travel and the resultant boom of domestic tourism caused by COVID-19, the Method team saw a unique opportunity to showcase some of the country’s greatest travel gems – both well known and well hidden. Tamariki (children) can now play a more integral part in the travel decision-making journey, being better informed about some great holiday spots in Aotearoa.

We created a game that entices our young tamariki to add some fun, excitement, and anticipation to their whānau’s holiday planning while reinforcing some of our great destinations and their cultural icons.

We want to spark curiosity and a sense of adventure in tamariki to explore their own backyard and discover unfamiliar places as well as those they already know and love.

As it did for many others, Covid-19 provided inspiration in a time of gloom. We saw an opportunity to reinvigorate Kiwis’ love for travel by showcasing some of Aotearoa’s vacation spots through an uplifting and warm-hearted game. A game that offers tamariki an opportunity to play a more integral part in the travel decision-making journey by becoming better informed about local destinations.

Targeted at kids aged 5-9, the game invites our nation’s tamariki to join Aunty Tui as she explores our country. Tui visits a raft of places and, wherever she goes, she sends a postcard inviting tamariki to join her in discovering some of Aotearoa’s well known, or well hidden, travel gems.

Before kids can join Aunty Tui they’re tasked with dressing and equipping their character with the appropriate clothing and accessories to match the destination they’re headed to. Once packed and ready to go they’ll join her before she heads off to her next destination and another postcard arrives…

Designed with Kiwi tamariki in mind, beautifully crafted design and whimsical illustrations bring the game to life alongside an intuitive interface with seamless and kid-tested game mechanics.

Careful consideration was taken to be as inclusive and diverse as possible in order to appeal to a wide range of kids. With a collection of skin colours, hairstyles and facial features, kids are able to customise their character to look just like them.

Method Managing Director Sam Ramlu says the game was designed with tamariki’s love for travel in mind: “We wanted to create an experience that respected the cultural significance of Aotearoa while also ensuring tamariki of all backgrounds could ‘see themselves’, or a proper representation of themselves throughout the game.”

“The Method team used their own experiences and the feedback from their own tamariki to make sure we were providing a fun and engaging experience that was really going to hit the mark.”

Accompanied by a beautiful and catchy soundtrack Postcards from Aotearoa aims to be a delightful experience for tamariki of all ages.

 

https://www.heihei.nz/game/163/postcards-from-aotearoa

 

Credits

Creative Studio: Method, M Theory

Creative Director: Sam Ramlu

Design Team: Matt Power, Sophie Douglas

Producer: Hannah Rogers

Game Development: Roshan Nowshad, Andrew Welsh

Animation: Lahiru De Silva

Illustrations: Scott Pearson

Sound Design: James Dean – Akau Audio

Special thanks to: Nikora Ngaporo – Cultural Consultant, Method Tamariki

 

https://www.mtheoryvr.com/

 

 

 



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