Saturday October 10th 2015

Green Video Games Teaching Kids

It’s not always easy to get through to kids; engaging them in conversation about the environment can be tedious, especially if they are twitching from video game withdrawal and anxious to return to their XBOX. Luckily, there are games out there that appeal to kids while conveying important environmental messages. It may sound like a long shot, but experts agree that video games are a great medium for teaching kids and for conveying information that will stick in the long run.

One such game is ominously entitled “Fate of the World.” It’s a PC strategy game that deals with some pretty heavy issues—natural disasters, population growth, and energy consumption are but a few of the problems game players must face. As the game’s official website explains, “Your mission: Solve the crisis. But, like life, it won’t be easy. You’ll have to work through natural disasters, foreign diplomacy, clandestine operations, technological breakthroughs, and somehow satisfy the food and energy needs of a growing world population. Will you help the planet or become an agent of destruction?” And if your kid is more into iPhones, there’s the iPhone/iPad compatible “Face the Waste,” which also addresses environmental waste concerns.

Another interesting environmental game is National Geographic’s “Plan It Green.” In the game you play as the Mayor of Greenville, and your mission is to change the city for the better by creating green jobs, constructing eco-friendly homes, and beautifying your surroundings (from sidewalks to garage doors). CEO Kirk Owens explains, “This is the right product for the times. Not only is it a fantastic game, but it integrates a theme we all hear hundreds of times a week. . . . By working with National Geographic, we were able to go beyond pop green ideas and make a game that truly conveys the possibilities of the future.”

Do you feel that green video games are the key to get kids more involved and interested in green issues? What do you think is needed for these issues to resonate with adolescents? All comments are appreciated.

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This article was originally posted on the Green Blog under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.