Journal cover Journal topic
Geoscience Communication An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 06 Apr 2020

Submitted as: research article | 06 Apr 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal GC.

Earth Girl Volcano: Characterizing and Conveying Volcanic Hazard Complexity in an Interactive Casual Game of Disaster Preparedness and Response

Isaac Kerlow1, Gabriela Pedreros2, and Helena Albert3 Isaac Kerlow et al.
  • 1Tropical Media, Los Angeles, USA
  • 2Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur, SERNAGEOMIN, Temuco, Chile
  • 3Central Geophysical Observatory, Spanish Geographic Institute (IGN), Madrid, Spain

Abstract. This paper focuses on the process of developing the Earth Girl Volcano game, and presents some of our best professional practices and lessons-learned during the inter-disciplinary development and production of interactive games of disaster preparedness and response. The survival of many communities during volcanic emergencies is tied to their volcanic preparedness knowledge. Unfortunately there is a gap between scientific terminology and the non-technical language used by the general population. For this reason it is necessary to develop and implement engaging outreach strategies that familiarize communities at risk with volcanic hazards, that show how a volcanic event unfolds and what to do in case of an emergency. Interactive games provide a perfect alternative to engage communities and to impact their resilience. The Earth Girl Volcano game is about making strategic decisions that minimize risk in communities exposed to volcanic hazards. Conveying the complexities of natural disaster preparedness to a general audience is a communication challenge in itself, because of the multi-layered, interrelated and technical nature of the information. We use interactive dramatizations of hazard scenarios for players to identify with the characters in the game and to empathize with communities impacted by volcanic hazards. We present our approach for characterizing the hazard scenarios in precise but nimble ways, and for designing engaging gameplay within the context of a casual strategy game. We seek to engage mainstream audiences and familiarize them with volcanic evacuations and disaster risk management by providing a high degree of playability, using storytelling to create empathy, making creative use of staging and visuals, and using plain language. The combination of all these techniques yields a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, a perfect storm that is able to create an emotional connection between players and the hazard scenarios in the game.

Isaac Kerlow et al.

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Isaac Kerlow et al.

Isaac Kerlow et al.


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Latest update: 07 Jul 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Earth Girl Volcano is a casual strategy interactive game about saving a community at risk from volcanic hazards, available for free in several languages. The easy-to-play game features a friendly animated visual style, and was designed by a multidisciplinary team to appeal to mainstream non-technical audiences. The game was inspired by the experiences of volcanic disasters' survivors and civil defense field staff. Players can learn virtually about disaster preparedness and response.
Earth Girl Volcano is a casual strategy interactive game about saving a community at risk from...