"Gaming for Good: Al Gore Brings Climate Reality to Video Games"
by Zachary Rybarczyk
Is Al Gore a secret gamer?
Known for advocating climate protection measures through books, movies, TV shows and concerts, the Nobel Laureate is venturing into a new medium to spread his message: video games.
Gore’s nonprofit climate education and advocacy organization, the Climate Reality Project, recently teamed up with global brand and trend consultants at PSFK to challenge design firms to create an interactive video game that uses the momentum of social media and gaming to advocate taking action on climate change and quash misinformation.
Video games and social media will play a key role in the future of fighting climate change, Gore says, as policies needed to accelerate the transition to clean technologies are blocked by oil, gas, and coal industry’s influence on our government.
“The architecture of the public square on the internet is very similar to when the country was founded, when the print-based media were dominant. Individuals have easy access, almost no barriers to access, ideas matter.”
Watch a short speech and roundtable with Gore on the subject:
Of the many submissions for ideas, which included real-time news feed filters aimed at sorting through climate news and identifying misinformation, some of the highlights incorporated elements of much-loved video games of the past.
RealiTree, developed by Stark Design of New York, created an interactive, virtual tree that reflects the health of the surrounding environment based on real-time data feeds. “It’s really like a gigantic Tomagotchi game that … thousands of people can play to keep this tree alive and well” described its creator, Daniel Stark.
Another wildly popular classic, The Oregon Trail, was the basis of Climate Trail, a text-based game in which players must follow a money trail to discover “the ultimate destination … to come to the truth about climate change and promote awareness.”
But in this game — like in reality — the consequences of not achieving your goal are far greater rather than breaking a wagon spoke or catching dysentery.
by Zachary Rybarczyk is an intern on the energy team at the Center for American Progress.