Creative tech studio Method and its gaming arm M Theory have launched a new immersive children’s game, titled Postcards from Aotearoa, to get young Kiwis excited about exploring our country’s beautiful surroundings.
Postcards from Aotearoa, available now 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 can now play a more integral part in the travel decision-making journey, being better informed about some great holiday spots in Aotearoa.
Method won funding for the project from the highly-competitive NZ On Air games fund. It was developed by Method and M Theory using the game engine Unity, and is accessible through the HEIHEI platform via a web browser. It’s available across desktop, mobile and tablet to ensure wide accessibility for kids while at home on personal devices or at school.
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 NZ tamariki and Kiwis’ 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.”
Creative Studio: Method, M Theory
Designers: Matt Power, Sophie Douglas
Executive Producer: Sam Ramlu
Producer: Hannah Rogers
Game Development: Roshan Nowshad, Andrew Welsh
Illustrations: Scott Pearson
Animator: Lahiru De Silva
Sound Design: James Dean – Akau Audio
Special thanks to: Nikora Ngaporo – Cultural Consultant, Method Tamariki