The folks that brought you the GardenPilot iPhone app are hard at work to bring consumers a new 3-dimensional online game focused on gardening. Called GardenQuest, it’s set to debut this summer.
Steve Cissel of 10-20 Media says the goal is to frame the game with the industry in mind, engaging consumers on behalf of all aspects of the green industry. The idea for the game came out of the plethora of discussions about an industry-wide promotion.
“I’ve been in this Internet space for a while and see an opportunity to create a virtual economy that will benefit everybody in the industry,” he adds. “This (game) allows for a person’s creativity to come out, and they will be able to put things the way they want them.”
Currently a company with more than 20 years of experience in game development is creating GardenQuest.
Why a gardening game? Games like FarmVille and CityVille, which are played through social interaction on Facebook, have amassed audiences of upwards of 60 to 70 million players.
So how will it work? The consumer starts with one tree, called the utopia tree. That tree produces fruit, and once the player harvests the fruit, the game begins. They receive more trees, and place them on their gardening map.
All the trees have real life equivalents, like acer palmatum, or willow oak. As the player graduates to higher levels, they receive more plants. The plant names are served from the 10-20 Media database that houses the GardenPilot data.
Players have to click to feed their plants, but can eliminate that work by earning a badge. To earn the badge they have to read a description of how to properly maintain the plant, and then answer five questions.
Cissel says this helps potential gardeners to learn about proper care and maintenance in a fun way. Industry companies and retail garden centers can get involved by offering virtual plants, tools or soils and fertilizers to customers via a code.
He also says there can be a direct connection to retailers via a tree specific to the garden center that bears fruit in the form of a coupon offer or promotion.
“I am hopeful what we’re trying to do with this initiative is not more of the same,” Cissel says. “I’m hopeful consumers will engage in it. We have a lot to gain as a collective industry.”
However, GardenQuest may have a little competition by way of FarmVille. Just days ago the game began allowing players to build a greenhouse, in which they can hybridize their own seeds.