UA Little Rock students develop video game to help animal shelters

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- A pair of graduate students at UA Little Rock have come up with a unique way to help animal shelters through a video game.

“We’re making it because we love the idea, we love dogs and we really want to see what sort of difference it could make,” says Olivia Dunlap, one of the game creators.

Dunlap and Tanner Marshall have spent most of their free time over the last two years, in between work and school, developing “To the Rescue.”

“The idea is that you’re running a virtual dog shelter,” says Marshall. “So you’re doing everything that comes along with that [like] taking care of the animals, making sure that they’re healthy, clean, and trying to get them adopted.”

Just like shelters in real life.

“They each look different and they act different and have different food preferences,” says Dunlap talking about the virtual dogs. “Some of them are old and sick, some of them are young and spry.”

The shelter operator also has to face unexpected situations in the game. For every dog you show to prospective pet parents there’s a chance they’ll get adopted.

“Really that’s the end goal of the game to try and get as many dogs adopted as you can,” says Dunlap.

With several pets of their own, some of them rescues, Tanner and Olivia hope this concept will raise awareness, but it’s also designed to give back.

“Once the game comes out, 20% of the profit is going to go to help real animal shelters,” says Marshall. “We wanted to make a game that is fun and engaging, but we want to make a difference too.”

It took off on Kickstarter. So far they’ve raised well over their goal and have been able to make the game even better.

Right now it’s still in the design stages but they hope to have a version available for PC and Mac in the digital game store next August.

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