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The Design Ethos of the Game ‘Climate Defense’

January 28, 2013

So we recently released another GameTheNews title (with guest developer Ashley Gwinnell) entitled ‘Climate Defense‘.  The seed of this game came from the fact that the Kyoto protocol recently expired with nothing to replace it.  Basically Co2 emissions are going up and up and collectively not much is happening to bring them down.  We’d like to think that reality works the way we’d imagine it should but it doesn’t always.  Nature does not really care about our perceptions of reality; it just is:

“We’re talking about a fight between human beings and physics. And physics is entirely uninterested in human timetables. Physics couldn’t care less if precipitous action raises gas prices, or damages the coal industry in swing states. It could care less whether putting a price on carbon slowed the pace of development in China, or made agribusiness less profitable. … It’s implacable. It takes the carbon dioxide we produce and translates it into heat, which means into melting ice and rising oceans and gathering storms.” (Bill McKibben)

So that then lead to me thinking about how in most games we tend to engineer the stats of the game to maximize the gameplay. What if we didn’t? What if a game tried to deliver the unvarnished truth? Well, there is a problem with this statement in that by simulating reality in a game what is created is already not going to be less than real. However what I could do is give the player two options for playing the game: real(er) or fun:

Climate Defense (play real-er or pretend?)

Climate Defense options: play real(er) or play for fun?

So what this means is that in the real(er) version of the game I’ve done my best to recreate numbers that reflect reality. So this version of the game is not very fun and the climate impacts soon mount up. In the fun version I’ve altered the stats to make the game more enjoyable to play and to can ‘win’ too. The challenge is to play both versions, compare them and see how you feel then. So enjoy (or don’t) the free game of Climate Defense!

Climate Defense (gameplay)

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