Emerald Island

Game review by
Jinny Gudmundsen, Common Sense Media
Emerald Island Game Poster Image
Eco-focused MMO in which kids' in-game actions do real good.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 3+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

By playing, kids go on quests that reflect real world ecological issues. Part of the gameplay involves planting a garden so that kids learn how to help the planet be "greener." The bad guys in this game are rats who pollute and deforest. Your goal is to defeat the bad guys and keep them from polluting the world.

Violence & Scariness

You'll throw fruit at the bad PiRats to make them go away.

Language
Consumerism

While the game is free to play, a more robust experience is available for paying members. Membership is $5.95 for a month, $29.95 for 6 months, and $57.95 for a year.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a massively multiplayer online game (MMO). While there are two kinds of chats available, neither is activated until a parent consents to their use. On option is Restricted Chat where kids can only use a limited, predefined menu of phases to communicate. For older kids, parents can authorize the use Safe Chat, where kids can type messages limited to words from within the Emerald Island Safe Chat dictionary, which prohibits inappropriate language and the sharing of personal information. While free to play, the subscription membership offers a more robust experience including a wide range of parental controls. These controls allow parents to set the maximum daily play time within the game, restrict play time to specific hours of the day, determine whether their child can trade items within this world. For Earth Day, the game is partnering with www.TreesForTheFuture.org so that when kids plant trees within the game, real trees are planted in the real world as well.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5 year old Written bySweetmaker August 21, 2009
We loved this game. note that I said loved past tense. Since this game has been sold to another company we have not been able to log on in over a week. We had t... Continue reading
Parent of a 9 year old Written byverovel December 28, 2010
Kid, 3 years old April 24, 2009
Kid, 8 years old June 1, 2010
like it

What's it about?

EMERALD ISLAND (www.EmeraldIsland.com) is a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) where kids enter the game as an animal avatar that they design. Tasked with fighting off eco-destroying rodents known as PiRats, kids go on a series of quests to save this world from pollution, deforestation, and other ecological disasters. Upon entering this world, kids are provided with a home and land on which to plant a garden. This world is populated with other kid players as well as non-player characters who act as your guides throughout the world. As with most virtual worlds, you can change the look of your avatar, safely chat if parents approve, and decorate your crib. But the focus of this game is completing eco-themed quests and planting a garden to raise crops for sale and to keep the habitat "green."

Is it any good?

Emerald Island is a fun world to explore. Many MMOs can be confusing for kids, but Emerald Island eases this discomfort by providing cute, in-game movies that explain the game play and stationing many characters within the game whose sole purpose is to help you play. By exploring the minigames scattered throughout the world, growing vegetables to sell, and doing quests, kids earn coins to buy things in this virtual world which can include furniture for their home, and land in which to grow a bigger garden.

Most quests have an ecology message, and the economy within the game requires you to plant a garden, so kids will learn about ecological issues and how to grow different kinds of plants by playing the game. During the weeks surrounding Earth Day (April 22), in-game actions of planting trees results in real world actions of tree planting by Trees For The Future, so kids can do good in the real world by playing this game. While still a little buggy, this is an MMO that kids ages 6-12 will enjoy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why planting a garden is helpful to the Earth. Why are some seeds rarer than others? Is that true in real life? What was your favorite quest? Do you like playing the minigames or going on quests more? Why?

Game details

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