Game development company Fantastec has created an online 3D game called PolarHeroes for children aged 4 to 8.
Since games, Farmville aside, are essentially about drama, the game begins with terrible news: Christmas is in trouble and only your children can save it. And so the players embark on a journey in order to save Christmas and become, you guessed it, PolarHeroes.
It isn't just adventure in a 3-D world, the fictional plot set in various snowy villages also has dozens of educational mini games, which teach children early reading skills, social and cultural skills, geography, languages and even some mathematics. The different villages of the 3-D world provide a virtual playground in Winter Wonderland and support learning in a fun way.
PolarHeroes is a massive multiplayer online game and is set in Finnish Lapland and features replicas of existing destinations such as Levi and Iso-Syöte skiing resorts and Kemi Snow Castle. Santa Claus also has a big role in PolarHeroes; one of the game's 3D villages is Father Christmas's home where he can be seen flying with Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.
How they got away with that last bit is something of a mystery, since Rudolph is a registered trademark and copyright and you can't just stick him in a video game any more than you can Mickey Mouse - or Science 2.0, if you are getting any ideas about a Christmas game for kids based on that. There's a reason he is only referred to as "Robbie's Dad" in "Robbie The Reindeer" and the person is muffled when they try to say the actual name - it's expensive to go into litigation.
In the adventures, players can ride reindeers, motor skis, build virtual homes and even nurse virtual pets. They intend it to be a fun, safe and educational environment for children and parents alike.
PolarHeroes has been developed by Finnish 3D game company, Fantastec Ltd., together with several Lapland travel organizations and game companies.