‘Cook’s Voyages’ online game

‘Cook’s Voyages’ is an online videogame that explores the historically, scientifically and socially ground-breaking voyages of James Cook into the Pacific Ocean in the 18th century.

Importantly, and or the first time, this game highlights to players the ‘view from the shore’ through the eyes of the games narrator Larilla, a Tasmanian Aboriginal girl who injects a First Nations perspective onto decisions that will impact on the Indigenous inhabitants of the locations visited.

Launched for the 250th anniversary of Cook’s arrival on Australia’s east coast, the game is designed for a student and young person audience where players learn not only factual content about Cook as a scientist and navigator, but also explore the ethical dimensions of decisions made. This includes choices to interact with the First Australians, collect cultural objects, fish in their waters and even claim lands for the crown. As they move through the game players learn about the different Aboriginal Countries they visit, and most excitingly (and for the first time in a game that we’re aware of), learn language specific to each. The game is not designed to re-write History, but to allow players to reflect on the ongoing impacts of the actions taken 250 years ago and to consider those choices through a modern ethical framework.

This large scale, gamified learning experience took two years to design and build, with extensive consultation across numerous First Nations communities. Since its launch it has been played by over 50,000 players.