Where pollution and waste are the villains.
GOING green is a practice that has evolved from hippies and eco- activists into a mainstream movement, with slow food, organic gardening and recycling now commonplace for many of us in the West.
We recycle, choose alternative energy sources, avoid chemicals and reduce waste, and now the green ethos has hit the video game industry too.
The usual video game trope of saving the world may be changing from focusing on a sub- human villain to turning the lens back on ourselves, our polluting cities and wasteful ways. Our world has changed.
The rising sea level has harmed the coastal cities and climate change has made large stretches of land inhospitable.
No, it’s not the evening news – that’s the description of a new eco- themed, strategybased video game called Anno 2070 ( Ubisoft, November 2011).
In it you face the current world challenges to positively shape the world of tomorrow. By choosing either an industrial and efficient course by joining the Tycoons or a more sustainable and environmentally- friendly direction by siding with the Ecos, the continuation of the planet and the survival of human civilisation depend on how you play the game.
Building your society of the future, you can colonise islands and create sprawling megacities with multitudes of buildings, vehicles and resources to manage.
You must engineer new production chains such as robot factories, oil refineries and diamond mines and trade with a variety of goods and commodities.
Yes, it’s only a video game but environmentalists are enthusiastic for this game, as it gives a glimpse into our Earth’s possible future if the lifestyle we currently lead continues.
However, it doesn’t just give one a prediction of the future; it actively allows the player to creatively solve the environmental crisis, if this can be done, and find ways for modern human society to still flourish in a not- so- perfect environment.
Even though it is a hypothetical situation, it could influence people to live more sustainably in their own time and place as well as in the game. Your decisions change the face of the world.
Ecological technology or the industrial standard?
Sustainability or mass consumption?
Deal with today’s global challenges and create the future.
So, playing a video game is not really dealing with today’s global challenges nor creating the future, but it’s a darn sight more helpful than another military- simulation or gang- warfare title.