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Simon Leufstedt

Games with a climate, resource or environment angle

It seems many members here play video or computer games on their spare time. So wouldn't it be pretty sweet if we all could help create a list of games that has a story with some sort of environmental angle? For example, the game could have a story that is set in the future where the climate has changed. It could be about a war or a conflict that evolves around some sort of natural resource, like oil.

Here are some games I know about that has some sort of climate/resource/environment angle. If you know any other games please add them to the list!

Anno 2070

It's the year 2070. Our world has changed. The rising level of the ocean has harmed the coastal cities and climate change has made large stretches of land inhospitable.

Brink

Brink takes place on the Ark, a man-made floating city that is on the brink of all-out civil war. Originally built as an experimental, self-sufficient and 100% “green” habitat, the reported rapid rise of the Earth’s oceans has forced the Ark to become home to not only the original founders and their descendants but also to thousands of refugees. With tensions between the two groups growing, Security and Resistance forces are locked in a heated battle for control of the Ark.

Battlefield 2142

The year is 2142 and the dawn of a new Ice age has thrown the world into a panic. The soil not covered by ice can only feed a fraction of the Earth's population. The math is simple and brutal: some will live, most will die. In Battlefield 2142, players choose to fight for one of two military superpowers - the European Union or the newly formed Pan Asian Coalition -in an epic battle for survival.

Sim City 4

In SimCity 4, you don't just build your city, you breathe life into it. Create a megalopolis by weaving together a tapestry of cities ranging from a bedroom community to a high tech urban center or a vacation destination to a farming village. You can create a region of interconnected cities sharing and competing for resources that are linked by a fully integrated transportation network. Use "god-like" powers to create mountain ranges, carve valleys, and lay rivers to construct the most realistic metropolis imaginable.

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It’s not always easy to get through to kids; engaging them in conversation about the environment can be tedious, especially if they are twitching from video game withdrawal and anxious to return to their XBOX. Luckily, there are games out there that appeal to kids while conveying important environmental messages. It may sound like a long shot, but experts agree that video games are a great medium for teaching kids and for conveying information that will stick in the long run.

One such game is ominously entitled “Fate of the World.” It’s a PC strategy game that deals with some pretty heavy issues—natural disasters, population growth, and energy consumption are but a few of the problems game players must face. As the game’s official website explains, “Your mission: Solve the crisis. But, like life, it won’t be easy. You’ll have to work through natural disasters, foreign diplomacy, clandestine operations, technological breakthroughs, and somehow satisfy the food and energy needs of a growing world population. Will you help the planet or become an agent of destruction?” And if your kid is more into iPhones, there’s the iPhone/iPad compatible “Face the Waste,” which also addresses environmental waste concerns.

Another interesting environmental game is National Geographic’s “Plan It Green.” In the game you play as the Mayor of Greenville, and your mission is to change the city for the better by creating green jobs, constructing eco-friendly homes, and beautifying your surroundings (from sidewalks to garage doors). CEO Kirk Owens explains, “This is the right product for the times. Not only is it a fantastic game, but it integrates a theme we all hear hundreds of times a week. . . . By working with National Geographic, we were able to go beyond pop green ideas and make a game that truly conveys the possibilities of the future.”

Do you feel that green video games are the key to get kids more involved and interested in green issues? What do you think is needed for these issues to resonate with adolescents? All comments are appreciated.

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