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TheBlu: A Social Game To Connect You With Our Oceans

Unless you’re doing a lot of scuba diving, you’re probably not thinking too much about what goes on beneath the ocean’s surface. TheBlu, a new interactive virtual marine environment, lets you be one with fish and whales from the comfort of your desk.

Not near an ocean for World Ocean Day? You can discover, explore, and share the world’s oceans with TheBlu right from the comfort of your desk. The program, which is free and downloadable, is an interactive environment that lets you explore different underwater scenes and feel a little more connection with our marine life.

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In the “social digital ocean” which features soothing music and beautiful animation, users are challenged to dive into the seas and search for specific species that are floating around the virtual environment on their computers. The more new species they spot–and tag–the more sets they complete. And for each set they finish, they get to choose one fish to add to their collection. But all that fishing can take time, so those with a little cash can skip the process entirely by purchasing new fish for their computerized oceans. Social gaming is also part of the experience: If a user sends a fish they’ve bought or collected into another area, others can connect with them and initiate a conversation.

The artists who create the species that you can buy receive up to 25% of the purchase every time someone purchases an asset they created. Of the other 75%, a percentage goes towards oceanic conservation.

Right now, there are 11 ocean environments to explore, but in the future, the company says they will add others (and more fish for purchase), like oceans from millions of years ago, with dinosaurs swimming around. Educational information on each species is available for those that want to learn while they play. TheBlu also says that it may add fictional species to their ocean environments in the future. Maybe an Avatar-like world could spring up–after all, TheBlu was created by Hollywood veterans including Avatar animator Andy Jones, as well as MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito.

To celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8, TheBlu is holding an event to celebrate the beauty and significance of the world’s ocean. On June 8, the Big Blu whale will be seen for the first time. TheBlu is produced by Wemo Media, an entertainment studio based in Venice, California, and 2012 winner of the SXSW Accelerator Award for best entertainment startup.