From Foursquare to Angry Birds to Farmville, there’s no denying social gaming is exploding. Riding this trend, new ideas and inspiration site PSFK recently challenged designers to use social gaming to combat climate change.
At this month’s Gaming for Good in New York City, 10 finalists presented gaming concepts, which address challenges presented by The Climate Reality Project. Environmental activist and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore selected five gaming concepts he believes have the potential to change conversations about climate change.
In his opening remarks, Gore said private companies — such as the PSFK gaming entrants — rather than governments, are leading the way to slow the rate of climate change. “Our democracy has been hacked,” he said. “It no longer functions with the integrity of our founding fathers.”
Gore is a known supporter of climate change prevention and believes the U.S. government does not do enough to protect the environment. Despite the evidence, some people are still not convinced that climate change and its effects are real.
One innovative gaming solution Gore loved was REALiTREE, a digital representation of the local environment and our role in sustaining its well-being. As seen in the photos below, large video screens, powered by renewable energies, display images of conversation-provoking trees. Creators Stark Design compare it to a communal Tamagotchi, essentially a digital environment where you’ll feel compelled to take care of the trees.
Other favorites included Zemoga‘s Climate Trail, based on retro favorite Oregon Trail, in which players follow a money trail tied to false information, and use that information to work toward a healthy environment in 2036. Awkward Hug‘s Greensquare is a geo-location game where you get points based on your checkin’s green scores. Arnold Worldwide‘s Reality Drop provides you with the tools to win any climate change argument on online discussion boards — and gives you points for each time you “drop” a reality fact. Parlor’s Climate Reality Patrol users tag their online comments with deeper explanations relating to climate change, earning rewards and badges.
While these games might not share the addictive appeal of World of Warcraft their combination of a pressing topic and points and badges make them exciting educational tools and conversations starters. If these concepts come to fruition, do you think they can impact climate change?
Disclosure: PSFK is a publishing partner in the Mashable Publishing Platform
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