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The Riverbed: An Eco-Noir Mystery


A fictional murder-mystery set in a land devastated by water scarcity.




Water IS the new oil. The Riverbed is a first-person interactive experience: part game, part story. The fictional murder-mystery set in a land devastated by water scarcity. The setting, historical facts, character archetypes, and cost-benefit motivations are based on real-world cases, such as the Aral Sea and the Colorado River.

According to the UN, shortage of clean water is a root cause of poverty, social instability and even war. But, the very complex and esoteric nature of this issue makes information inaccessible to the people who need it most: the politically emerging generation of young adults.

The Riverbed is designed to raise awareness of this looming crisis and help players to better understand the dynamics at work in water scarcity situations. Issues like upstream/downstream, sustainability, conservation and the security dilemma are explored in a fun and engaging way. Users come away with a message of conservation and an enhanced understanding of water issues.

In this portion of the game (part one of eight), players are introduced to the story, the game dynamics and the issue of water scarcity, while they explore a group of ships stranded in the desert by a receding sea. This location of the game is based on the Aral Sea crisis in Central Asia.