“Mission Fishin”: A Teen-designed Game on Scientific Fish Collection

Mission fishin opening screen2 crop

“Mission Fishin” is a digital game created by a team of teens at the California Academy of Sciences last year to educate the public about how our scientists collect specimens in the field. The game focuses on how one of our scientists, Dr. David Catania, collects freshwater fish specimens. I know, sounds riveting, right? Well read on…

Dr. Catania uses a unique method for fish collection : electrofishing. Just like it sounds, Dr. Catania wears a “fish zapper” device that allows him to shock fish in a body of water, which briefly stuns the fish and allows his team to extract it from the water and examine it easily. Here’s a picture of Dave with the fish zapper in China.


A group of our Digital Learning teens met Dr. Catania and were so impressed with this method of specimen collection that they decided to make a digital game about it. They thought it would be a fun and entertaining way of educating the public about what scientists do in the field, and why.

The teens decided early on that they wanted the game to have a 90s retro feel to it, from the game design to the graphics to the sound effects and music. They researched games of the era, tried out different game platforms, listened to countless sound files, and taught themselves how to code over the course of this two-semester program. The result was the game “Mission Fishin.”

Check out the game play footage I recorded below.

“Mission Fishin” is now a regular part of our suite of activities that our Cal Academy youth deploy to engage the public about science, both at our museum and out in the community. It always gets a lot of attention from people of all ages when we bring it out.

mission fishin

dad shows how its done

Sadly, there is no downloadable or mobile version of “Mission Fishin.” It can only be experienced at our museum when presented by ¬†our TechTeens or TASC Force youth.

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