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Sustainable development themes turned into versatile mobile games

Published on 23.10.2023
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Neljä nuorta kokoontuneena pöydän ympärille keskustelemaan.
IT programme degree students Esa-Pekka Palonen (left), Ksenija Merzliakova, Tiiu Kaarela and Ossi Visanen on a well-deserved break during game building project. Photo: Anne-Mari Stenbacka
The first-year IT degree programme students at Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) have developed six mobile games relating to sustainable development. The assignment came from Academy for Sustainable Future Educators (EduSTA) project. The games can be downloaded from the Google Play app store.

Lecturer Mika Nieminen has represented the client who had a few important wishes for the games; good playability and a possibility for later expansion or updating. He describes the project interesting in many ways. After ideating phase, the student teams studied the themes of sustainable development to help in the creation of mobile games.

“It has been nice to meet the developers behind the pixels”

Nieminen gives credit for the students for their positive approach in doing things and for their open-mindedness to learn about sustainable development. The Academy for Sustainable Future Educators project develops the sustainability skills of professional teachers. The sponsor is pleased that the themes of sustainable development will become more familiar by means of gaming.

The games were developed ambitiously in just a few months.

“This has been a real super sprint for students, coaches, and us clients too. Taking the idea into practice has been challenging in some places. Nevertheless, the results are nice, and the games will certainly find their players. I have been particularly inspired by the possibility to learn a lot of new things about making games. It's been nice meeting the developers behind the pixels, Nieminen says.

For the IT students, the game project combines studies of the first year’s spring.

Lecturer Anne-Mari Stenbacka was directing the student group in project management. The project included mobile game programming, graphics, web technologies, design, and usability. Students learned teamwork, agile ICT project management, expert communication, and the English language of an ICT project.

“The students have gained experience in a genuine customer project. They learned about the customer’s business area and listened carefully to the customer’s wishes.”

All teams completed their games and built a related website. According to Stenbacka, the challenge of communication became apparent in the teams. Also, the role of project management was found essential several times.

“The students highlighted the importance of cooperation. We all learned a lot and succeeded: a satisfied client is an important goal in the customer project”, Stenbacka says.

Mobile games address the themes of sustainable development  

The student teams have developed six different games: platform games, a quiz, a strategy game, and a mini game. In one of the platform games the player collects garbage and cleans the world. In another one a stray cat is picking up things, avoiding enemies and helping other animals, and the third platform game is an adventure for nature.

The quiz will bring a comprehensive set of questions to the player based on the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The strategy game focuses on choosing the right options in crisis situations in different countries. The mini game is led by a unicorn that faces issues related to sustainable development in an office environment.

Mobile games have been published in the Google Play app store.


The EduSTA games are Sustain -A- Quiz!, Diplomat, Office Unicorn, Shadowpaws, Eco Adventure and EcoExplorer. All student-made games for the Virma, EduSTA and TYKKY projects with download links can be found at The games can also be found on the Google Play app store.

The Academy for Sustainable Future Educators (EduSTA) is an Erasmus+-funded, international project to define practical sustainability competences specifically for vocational teachers. The project will design, build, and pilot a system of digital open badges and supporting competency-based learning, learning environments, and learning materials. The project is led by Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) and partners are Universidad de Girona, Spain, Göteborgs Universitet, Sweden, Hanze UAS, the Netherlands and University of Life Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic.


See the project website to learn more:


Additional information:

Eveliina Asikainen
EduSTA Project Lead
Senior Lecturer | Pedagogical Innovations and Culture
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
eveliina.asikainen [at], +358 50 5958 775

Anne-Mari Stenbacka
Lecturer | Industrial Engineering
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
anne-mari.stenbacka [at], +358 40 7092 089


Text: Hanna Ylli
Photo: Anne-Mari Stenbacka