Greenshifting Game Studies: Arguments for an Ecocritical Approach to Digital Games

“Every time I talk or write about ecology as a tool or merely an inspiration for hermeneutic approaches to cultural artifacts, I feel like I need to start off with a confession: I am no hardcore, dyed-in-the-wool environmentalist. Not only do I have serious doubts about the compatibility of hardcore environmentalism and dyed wool, I find it hard to subscribe to any sort of Ism, doctrine, or universal approach. And still, with all the relativism of the comparatist whose only creed is that there are always two (or more) ways of looking at any matter, I have become deeply fascinated with ecocriticism lately. “

How’s the Weather

“This article examines the role of weather in games, from both a gameplay and a wider ecological perspective. While weather is usually introduced merely as decoration, the author argues that more direct effects on gameplay would make games both more realistic and ecologically savvy. While some progress has been made in certain areas (wind blowing on the grass, rippling water, rain or storms affecting planes in flight simulators), there is still much room improvement and challenges for aspiring game developers and graphics artists.” – Abstract

BioHarmonious

“BioHarmonious makes the player responsible for the fate of two interconnected planets.  The Manufactured Planet, a place of clockwork machinery and choking smog, is on the verge of collapse, and its sister planet, the lush and diverse Natural Planet, will die along with it unless something is done.  Through a process of “bioharmony,” scientists from the Manufactured Planet are able to integrate the flora and fauna of the Natural Planet into their machines to improve the environment of their home world.” – BioHarmonius

Mission: Migration

“In the spring and the fall, many birds fly long distances in search of food, water, shelter and space: the same basic things that you need to survive…In this game you will try to help your flock migrate safely by learning how choices you make each and every day around your home, school, and neighborhood can affect the fate of these migrating birds – in both positive and negative ways. ” – Mission: Migration

Quest For Oil

“Maersk takes you on a quest for one of today’s most indispensable resources – oil. You will go on a subsurface journey, exploring the underground and getting to the heart of one of the world’s most vital and challenging business.” – Quest For Oil

Energy City

“Imagine a world where non-renewable resources, such as coal and oil, are in short supply! What can we do now to prepare for this future event? In this JASON Digital Lab, you will create a new energy portfolio for a city. Research new sources of energy and take another look at renewable and inexhaustible sources that were once considered “alternative” such as sunlight and wind. If you can help your city move forward into the future, you’ll be featured on our competitive leaderboards!” – Energy City

Smog City 2

“Using an interactive air pollution simulator to control the air quality in Smog City 2, you can see how individual choices, environmental factors, and different types of land use affect air pollution. In Smog City 2 you are in charge – so whether your visit is a healthy or unhealthy experience depends on the decisions that you make. ” – Smog City 2

CEO2

“CEO2 is a game that puts players in the role of a CEO in one of four major industries from 2010 to 2030. CEO2 was designed to raise awareness about the need for business leaders to balance their concerns for profit and climate change, and the options available to them.” – CEO2

Unclaimed World

“Characters and alien wildlife are brought to life through a rigorous simulation and the game plays out as a tug-of-war between humans and nature on a planet full of opportunities and dangers. Understanding the alien environment is crucial – the resources you discover will provide a number of production options making you able to adapt when food gets scarce and equipment breaks.” – Unclaimed World