Pikachu is an environmentalist: here are the green hearted video games

4-06-2020 | News


There are many ways in which technology can help conserve the planet. The shape of gamification: by transforming actions into a game, people can be encouraged to adopt virtuous behavior. For a long time we have tried to convey the public's attention to environmental issues through media such as TV, radio and newspapers. With the advent of new media, communication potential has increased dramatically, as has the possibility of communicating effective messages aimed at raising awareness among the masses.

Now we are starting to convey this attention (also) through i video games. In the world there are over 2.4 billion of gamers, who spend almost 140 billion dollars in the gaming market - total revenue exceeds that of Hollywood, Bollywood and the music industry. This is what it reports "Playing for the Planet: How Video Games Can Deliver for People and the Environment", a recent report by UN Environment and GRID-Arendal, which together with 30 of the largest video game manufacturers has created the Playing for the Planet Alliance.

Playing for the Planet Alliance

The organization aims to create a concrete impact in two specific areas: the most tangible one linked to projects of reforestation and an intangible one, to promote actions green that lead companies and individuals towards more respectful choices on the planet. Among the proposals that can be read in the report are the strategies to insert environmental issues in video games already existing, to involve families and to make the gaming industry zero-emission.

Not only to make video games greener, but also to push for video games totally dedicated to ecology and conservation to be born. An example is Internet of Elephants, a video game production startup based in Nairobi, Kenya, who wants to tell about the conservation of the ecosystem - and its impact on reality - through digital and innovative technologies. Augmented reality is the protagonist of the latest Internet of Elephants work, said the founder Gautam Shah in a recent interview for National Geographic: an app called Wildeverse, released in April 2020, and which already has more than 5000 downloads.

This videogame, thanks to the technologies of augmented reality, turn the real world into a virtual jungle. Exotic trees and animals appear on the screen like holograms on the streets and crossroads of their city. The aim of the player is to complete the missions that concern the conservation of primates such as gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans. The user must first find them by following their tracks, then interact with them, learn their habits, lifestyles and behaviors and protect them from poachers.

Climate Hope City and Pokémon Go Earth Day

Even the giants of the sector are busy with the environment. It is the case of Minecraft, the hugely popular video game of the sandbox genre - in which an entire digital world is built, pixel brick on brick - which has about 120 million active players per month and was purchased by Microsoft for 2.5 billion dollars in 2014. In collaboration with the newspaper The Guardian, a map called Minecraft appeared Climate Hope City, a zero emission virtual city, with all the greenest technologies already in existence or being tested: vertical farms, kinetic sidewalks that convert steps into electricity, driverless cars and roofs covered with vegetation. An intelligent way to reach the youngest and involve them in environmental issues, through already known and appreciated channels.

A bit like Nintendo and Niantic, creators of Pokémon Go, during Earth Day 2019. The famous virtual reality game offered some bonuses to those who, during the day dedicated to the earth, would undertake to clean the planet, making it known on Twitter using a dedicated hashtag. The more players attended, the higher the bonuses would have been. The previous year - through a similar initiative - the video game had pushed people around the world to collect 6.5 tons of waste.

Giacomo Porra

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