Video Game Makers Tackle Global Warming

Craig Boudreau | Vice Reporter

The PoLAR Partnership, Autodesk and Games for Change (G4C) have teamed up and will dole out $10,000 to the video game developer that creates “a digital game that engages players to understand their role in addressing climate change.

Games for Change explains the contest on their website: “The design challenge invites game designers, educators, students, and scientists of all experience levels to propose a game that encourages diverse audiences, including (but not limited to) college students, decision makers, and lifelong learners, to understand and respond to climate change in their everyday lives.”

The aim is to make a game to “make this issue accessible to the general public in a way that’s relatable and understandable” Susanna Pollack, head of the competition told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Monday.

One of the four finalists is a game called ‘Eco‘ where players must build a civilization (much like the popular smartphone games) that can build the technology to knock an incoming meteor off-course, while weighing the technological benefit against any climate change implications its technological course of action may have.

One developer has tested his idea on schoolchildren.

“Games have a huge part to play in society and education,”  game developer John Krajenski told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, “After the testing period was over, [the students] would keep playing it on their own.”

While school children did enjoy the game during it’s trial run from its developer, it also served as a unique distraction from school, what remains to be seen is the viability of such a different style game in the current video game market. According to vgchartz.com the top selling games through May 21 were mostly ‘violent’ video games like: Grand Theft Auto V; Doom; and Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.

The winner will be picked on Friday at the New School’s Parsons School of Design in New York City at the close of the Games for Change festival.

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