Games to inspire your sustainability journey - Brown Living™

Level up your eco-friendly journey with engaging sustainability games. Explore our blog for inspiring ways to make a positive environmental impact.

Games that let players choose their elements to alter the impact of their in-game surroundings are termed ‘Eco-games’. These games’ core design promotes the ecological consciousness of the players. Eco-friendly games center is environmental but there are also economic & societal dimensions of environmentalism in it.

Over the past 30 years, we’ve seen the rise of environmental management games across PC, web, and within the last decade console and mobile. Among the environmental games studied, most games offered basic knowledge on sustainable issues to help players develop familiarity with a topic. Some games are aimed at raising awareness of causes and consequences and promoting a change in attitude and behavior. A smaller percentage of the games studied were created to stimulate the development of solutions and ideas through creativity.

Games are the gateway for players to think more deeply about moral and ethical issues, the negative and positive choices they make within the controlled experience help them shape their own values and opinions. Skills and lessons learned within a game have the potential to be applied to real-life scenarios and challenges

Some examples of Eco-Games are:

Planet Zoo

Manage an amazing living world that responds to every decision you make. Focus on the big picture or go hands-on and control the smallest details. Thrill visitors with iconic exhibits, develop your zoo with new research and release new generations of your animals back into the wild. Your choices come alive in a world where animal welfare and conservation come first. You can access the game here.

Plasticity by Plasticity Games

Plasticity makes the player think about the garbage we throw away and the plastic we recycle, bringing to light how we don’t see where it goes or how it makes an impact. The game helps to visualize this impact through the art of storytelling and the interactive choices you make in real-time. You can access the game here.

Lumino City by State of Play

Lumino City is a puzzle adventure crafted entirely by hand out of paper, card, miniature lights, and motors. The game was designed to raise awareness about renewable energy technologies and offers sustainable practices as an intrinsic part of the gameplay. Almost every puzzle in the game involves powering up a location using renewable technologies, or explores a form of self- sufficiency. 

Players are also given a ‘handy manual’ which is carried throughout the game and further explores some of the applications of renewable energy technologies. You can access the game here.

Beyond Blue by E-Line Media and BBC Studios (2020)

Beyond Blue is a single player narrative adventure where players explore the mysteries of our ocean through the eyes of Mirai, a deep-sea explorer and scientist.

Beyond Blue also offers an in-game encyclopaedia, a collection of all the ocean creatures you encounter on your journey. It features insights and footage from the award-winning documentary Blue Planet II, and encourages the player to learn about and reflect on the incredible vastness of our ocean. You can access the game here.

Get Water! By Decode Global Studio (2013)

Get Water is a side-scrolling endless runner, the player helps Maya collect water and other collectibles, as well as avoiding enemies. By collecting water the player unlocks new chapters in Maya's story, shown as still-image videos. Maya learns new skills so she can collect water faster and protect it better.

The story highlights the effect water scarcity has on girls' education in slums and rural areas of India. After each run the player gets additional information about water scarcity, how it is used nowadays, and how to conserve it in everyday life.

In addition to the information found in the game, a six-part lesson plan for 4-6 Grade teachers was available on the game's website in PDF format to download for free. You can access the game here.

Fate of the World by Red Redemption (2011)

Fate of the World is a turn-based strategy game, with each turn representing five years. The game features a dramatic set of scenarios based on the latest science covering the next 200 years.

The player must manage a balancing act of protecting the Earth’s resources and climate versus the needs of an ever-growing world population, who are demanding ever more food, power, and living space.

Fate of the World simulates a planet in climate crises, players must learn how to manage public opinion, combat global warming, balance industrial progression, and maintain the human development index. You can access the game here.

Ice Flows by University of Exeter and In House Visuals (2016)

Ice Flows is a scientific simulation game that tells the story of the impact of climate change on the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Players are responsible for controlling the size of the ice sheet in order for the penguins to get to their destination.

The project combines fieldwork and computer modelling to investigate the relationships between changes in the atmosphere, the ocean and the ice sheet in this region. Computer-based ice sheet simulation models are used by scientists to both understand how the ice behaves and to make projections for future behaviour.

Ice Flows was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) as part of a project that aims to investigate what may happen in the near-future in the Weddell Sea Region of Antarctica and the impact changes here could have on global sea-level.‍ You can access the game here.

World Rescue by ZU Digital and UNESCO MGIEP (2017)

 World Rescue is a narrative, research-based video-game inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Set in Kenya, Norway, Brazil, India, and China, players meet and help five young heroes and help them solve global problems—such as displacement, disease, deforestation, drought, and pollution. You can access the game here. 

Eco by Strange Loop Games (2018)

Eco is an online multiplayer survival game where players must build civilization using resources from an incredibly reactive ecosystem, and whatever actions the players take affects everything within the world.

The game allows players to interact with both the world and each other, it pushes players to re-enact a sustainable lifestyle in a detailed wilderness simulation. Players have to care about balanced nutrition and need to control the gathering of natural resources, otherwise negatively harming or destroying the environment. You can access the game here. 

Morphy! by Smithsonian Science Education Center and Filament Games (2016)

Morphy! is a survival metroidvania-style game starring Morphy, an alien who has crash-landed on an unknown planet and needs to find his missing crew members.

Designed to teach players the fundamentals of animal adaptation, players must face a slew of challenging platforming obstacles that can only be overcome by scanning animals whose traits are specialised to their environments. The scanned traits can then be added to Morphy’s abilities, helping players better navigate the environment present. You can access the game here. 

WWF Free Rivers by World Wildlife Fund (2018)

The game is designed to teach how ecosystems depend on healthy, flowing rivers. Players are immersed in simulated environments based on the Himalayan mountains, South American grasslands, and Southeast Asian deltas.

WWF Free Rivers teaches players how actions like damming a river can affect its flow and health through interactions with the people and wildlife that inhabit it. The game is an in-depth interactive storytelling experience using the latest immersive technology to bring environmental learning to the palm of the players hand. You can access the game here. 

A few more games that will inspire our sustainability journey are:

  • GreenSpace by RocketOwl Inc. and WeForest.org (2011)‍
  • Working with Water by Central Coast Council
  • Save the Park by Schell Games
  • Bleached Az by Chaos Theory and We Are Rad (2019)
  • Niche by Stray Fawn Studios (2016)

How can today’s video games help the environment?

There are an estimated 2.7 billion gamers across the world in 2020 and that number is predicted to rise to over 3 billion in 2023. As of 2020, the average daily total of play for Australian's of all ages who play video games is 81 minutes. That's 81 minutes of opportunity to Aussies but also engage them through the excitement of play.

Games have the real potential of reaching every demographic, across every nation - they are the engagement engine that can empower players to tackle the biggest environmental challenges of our time.

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