"Fate of the World" Shifts Gamers' Focus Toward Battling Climate Change


Image via Fate of the World

The mix of annihilation of the human race with solving problems against a whirring clock are key ingredients for a compelling video game. Rather than playing at war or bashing automobiles into brick walls, Fate of the World puts these elements of an interesting game into the context of a world that has ignored the signs of climate change until it is too late. The new computer game pushes players to come up with solutions to scenarios that could be all too real soon, from water crises to oil shortages to the collision of countries seeking shrinking resources. And the date of this future world is startlingly soon -- the year 2020. We gave Fate of the World a head-nod in Planet 100's coverage of top green-themed games, but the newly launched game is definitely worthy of more attention.

Players become a global leader at the head of the Global Environmental Oganization (GEO), working to balance what resources remain with a growing population of people that demands ever more of those resources. To today's real-world leaders, it likely sounds all too familiar. Players choose their scenario -- working on oil shortages, the rise of Africa, three degrees of warming or others -- and then works to figure out how to keep the planet ticking under such strains for 200 years.

Much like modeling software, the choose-your-own-adventure-style game imposes consequences for any policies, bans, or technologies put in place by the player. Ultimately it could be practice for the very challenges we're facing now. While one action could save a species from distinction, another could throw a country into social unrest.

The information used by the game is drawn from NASA, the UN, Oxford University and other major organizations researching the impacts of climate change. The data is realistic, which means the opportunities for learning about climate change available for players are huge, and can have a positive impact especially on younger players.

This might be one computer game teachers can encourage students to play. Fate of the World is currently in beta mode and only available on PCs, but a Mac version is in the works.

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Tags: Activism | Games | Global Warming Solutions

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