The United Kingdom's Department for Transport has launched a free browser MMO, Code of Everand, that teaches traffic safety to children. It does so through a fantasy theme with direct parallels to real world dangers -- streets are Spirit Channels, glowing energy streams populated with many dangerous beasts. The Spirit Channels crisscross the map of Everand and make travel perilous. That's where the players come in as Pathfinders, explorers trained in the techniques that allow for safe passage across the Spirit Channels. Pathfinders learn important safety lessons along the way in their journey to discover the secrets of Everand.
Code of Everand was developed for the UK Department for Transport by NYC-based firm Area/Code over the course of two years, reports Game Set Watch. Area/Code has a long track record of creating cross-media games for advertising and media firms, television networks, and even major consumer brands. According to Area/Code's site, they've taken innovative approaches to games in the past -- "online games that respond to broadcast TV in real time, simulated characters and virtual worlds that occupy real-world geography" and "game events driven by real-world data". Interesting concepts. If you like the idea of games used as an effective educational tool, you can see the animated trailer for Code of Everand after the jump.