Element Hunters

Emerging Technologies and Edtech June 19, 2014

Country of Origin: Japan
Languages: Japanese
Developer: Bandai Namco Games
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Year Published: 2009
Website: http://elementhunters.com
Platforms: Nintendo DS
Genre: Role-Playing
Age Rage: 12+
Subject: Science, Social Studies, Environmentalism

Based on a 2009 Japanese and Korean science-fiction anime series, Element Hunters transports players to a dismal and chaotic future Earth where many of the planet’s chemical elements––such as oxygen, cobalt, and carbon––have been mysteriously relocated to another dimension. The player must hunt monsters, which are embodied representations of the elements of the periodic table, and in so doing can help save the Earth.

In many cases, the actual battling of the monsters involves using the elements in combinations, as they would work in the real world. For example combining hydrogen and oxygen can produce water. The game product also includes a novel play mode where the player can purchase physical hardware that when connected to the Nintendo DS, allows the player to “capture” a monster onto the small hardware, and maintain that monster in a similar manner to a tamagotchi.

Element Hunter was conceived as an entertainment product (anime, then game), with the elements as inspiration for the monsters and some of the battle mechanics. The IP has proven quite popular in Japan, though it has not been brought overseas. Without a specifically created classroom experience, players might not understand the connection to the periodic chart. However as an inspiration to additional learning, it might be quite effective.