Climate games are any games that contain significant climate themes or references. Some such games are focused entirely on addressing the climate crisis, while others address the theme tangentially by including climate references or gaming mechanics related to greenhouse gas emissions and resultant climate disruptions.
Why do climate games matter? First of all, if they’re done right, they’re fun! Having fun is important for its own sake. It’s also an important part of a well-rounded approach to climate communication. Most people don’t want to spend every waking moment talking about gloom-and-doom scenarios, or even positive solutions that will require a lot of hard work. They want time in their day for relaxation, play, creativity, and social activities like playing games with friends and family. Climate games are a good way to engage in playful social activity while still including climate themes or references.
This page is still under development. I have a long mental list of games to add here, and I’m always looking for more. If you have any suggestions, please contact me. If you send me information about a climate game that I didn’t know about yet, I’d be happy to give you credit on this page when I add the listing.
Climate Video Games
2020 Games for Our Future (GFOF) Game Jam: From games about bats facing habitat destruction, climate revolutions, wildfire management, and finicky fornicating pandas on the mission to ensure the survival of their species — the 2020 Games for Our Future (GFOF) Game Jam had it all. This year’s event in collaboration with IndieCade, allowed game jammers from across the country (and planet!) to create games focused on the theme of ‘Community, Nature, and Resilience in the Face of Global Crises’, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The event from April 17th – 23rd drew over 150 game jammers who submitted a total of 49 diverse games, all centered around pressing environmental issues, in just 5 short days. The EarthGames article about the 2020 GFOF Game Jam tells the full story, including a list of the contest winners and a link to check out and play all of the games.
Climate Tabletop Games
Catan Scenarios: Oil Springs is an expansion to the popular Catan tabletop game. All of the existing rules of Catan apply, but the expansion adds oil as a resource to be extracted, traded, and consumed. It’s the most powerful resource in the game, but watch out! If you burn too much oil, disaster strikes. Portions of the game board become unusable, and the sea levels start to rise, damaging or eliminating coastal settlements.