Mentoring (chess game + environment) project for 3 middle schoolers for a year during the tough times…
By Grant Cheng(ACF Startup team “Ecohero” coach)
At the same time, as COVID-19 spread rapidly across the United States, forcing people into quarantine, chess rose to popularity, especially among the younger population. With major social influencers from Twitch, a popular streaming platform, participating in a massive chess tournament known as PogChamps, chess instantly became a go-to game for many who were bored at home, myself included. So the team put two and two together and decided to create a chess game with an environmental focus.
So what did they make? What does an environmentally-based chess game look like? This was likely the most challenging part of the project for the team, aside from any actual coding. They spent weeks refining an idea in their head that was both feasible and effective. After receiving the advice from multiple industry professionals in environmental preservation that the team themselves reached out to, they landed with their current idea. The game consists of regular chess, but users can select an environment focus to learn more about. The pieces are modified to represent important animals in various ecosystems. Facts and solutions towards whatever may cause the most significant harm are presented to the user. These are the first steps in the team’s effort to gamify the idea of saving the environment in hopes that it would be more appealing than simply informing people. They reasoned that it would also target an audience that may not have had extensive previous exposure to climate change movements and may not know the necessary resources to help save the planet. While it may not seem like too much, keep in mind that it’s the little things that build up to create an enormous impact.
Climate change will continue to be an essential topic for years to come. Even recently, popular YouTubers MrBeast and Mark Robert have initiated #TeamSeas, a charity movement promising to remove one pound of trash from the ocean for everyone dollar donated. Chess ceases to fade into the background and continues to be a popular sport that many still play even after the initial boom. The team is now at the cusp between development and release. Soon, their efforts will be on full display to everyone, their project fully live. But this isn’t the end. Even after release, the team still plans to receive feedback to improve their game further. They’ve already done so much more than many other people their age, and I look forward to seeing how they will continue to pursue their endeavors.