Julia was an office worker in The City until the day her daughter died. Then she became part of the Animal Factorization Initiative, and now she lives within a whale.

Bales of Amber is an educational, surrealist, post-apocalyptic, speculative fiction game about a disastrous whaling industry. In this game, the player explores human interaction with themselves, others, and with the environment they live in. The player begins by waking up and setting off to do their chores. These chores include things such as spreading Ambergris and collecting phytoplankton from the teeth of their assigned whale. Each day they will do more chores, find more puzzles, and meet new friends to find out what truly is going on.

Bales of Amber focuses heavily on issues of environmental health, issues of capitalist production, and worldwide disaster as a result. This project teaches the players about what whales do for the ecosystem and what the everyday person can do to stop their decline. By collecting and spreading whale feces across the ocean, the player learns that whales are one of the biggest stimulators of the nitrogen cycle. When talking to their neighbor, they play a battleship-esque game with them, and that teaches them about the fact that 15% of whales die every year due to ameteur boating accidents.

I aim to finish a working prototype by the end of April so I can pursue grants and/or Kickstarter funds, and I recently completed an early-production video trailer for the project:

Jennifer Bourke is a third-year GSAS/EArts student with a passion for environmental education and hugging cats. She believes that every serious situation requires a touch of humor, and that Trader Joe’s brand Everything But The Bagel Spice is the most important invention of the century. In addition, she wishes she could have pet lobsters in her bathtub, but her roommates will not hear of it.