The Other World: A New Augmented Reality Experience!

You’ve been chosen to help save The Other World from environmental distress — but are you up to the task?

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EarthGames is excited to announce the release of The Other World, a new game by student Andrew McDonald!  The Other World is a location-based game that can be played only on the University of Washington Seattle campus.  It is an augmented reality scavenger hunt with a compelling story about climate justice.  Check it out now on iOS and Android.
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You’ll be able to:

  • Experience dramatic augmented-reality weather effects across UW
  • Communicate with your guide from the other world, Eliza (voiced by professional actor and Ph.D. candidate Monica Cortés Viharo)
  • Learn about environmental justice in The Other World and at home
  • See Red Square entirely under water
  • Solve location-based and AR puzzles to advance in the game
  • Wipe the frost off of your cell phone (really!)
  • Endure the merciless trash-talking of your robot companion XLR

Andrew was inspired to communicate about environmental justice in part based on his trip to Standing Rock.  The powerful, unique story he has written should not be missed!  He coded the entire project himself as well.

The Other World begins at Red Square on the UW campus, and will take you through buildings across campus.  The game takes about 1 hour to complete from start to finish, and involves a little more than a mile of walking.  Make sure to turn the sound up on your device to play!

New Game: Soot Out at the 0 C Corral!!

Now available for iOS and Android!

Soot on snow is a real problem in the Arctic.  When black soot falls into newly fallen snow, it absorbs a lot more sunlight.  Even a tiny bit of soot can make a huge difference, because the photons bounce around so many times within snow crystals.  In addition to the increased greenhouse effect from fossil fuels, soot is also a factor in making the snow melt faster in the Arctic.  IMG_2282.PNG

The Arctic is already experiencing the most global warming on the planet.  The human footprint up there gets larger practically every day.  Shipping, oil drilling, and forest fires are bringing lots more soot into the environment, in addition to other harmful pollutants.  Soot Out at the 0° C Corral is our attempt to raise awareness about the important issue of soot on snow, in a fun, arcade-style game.

This game was originally developed for the Arctic Climate Game Jam.  Contributors include Sam Dassler who was the primary developer, Rikki Parent who made the art, Ben MacMillan and Kat Wang who made the initial version at the game jam, and Sara Brostrom and Judy Twedt who worked on the science.  Please download and help spread the word today!

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Dark Side of the Earth: A New Interactive Visualization

Download now for iOS

Mac/PC versions coming soon!

Ever wanted to float through space and watch the light of a new day dawn across planet Earth? Dark Side of the Earth, the newest release from EarthGames, gives you this opportunity. Visualize the Sun’s radiant warmth casting across our planet, bisecting the world into day and night.

Start by experiencing those perfect 24 hours of equinox, when the Earth’s tilt is aligned so that everywhere on the planet experiences exactly 12 hours of day and night. Or watch the solstice, when perpetual darkness bathes polar regions in one hemisphere, while the other experiences perpetual day. Zoom through time to watch the seasonal cycle of sunlight animate as the Earth orbits around the Sun.

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Everything in the app is based on real scientific data: complex geometric calculations are performed to give the correct diurnal and seasonal cycle of sunlight throughout the year. Elevation, land cover, and population data determine the colors of the Earth during day and night. Even real star charts are shown in the background!

You can use Dark Side of the Earth to:
**Understand why there are seasons on Earth
**Calculate out how much daylight there is at any location, at any date in the past or future
**See where deserts, forests, and ice are located on each of the continents
**Relax to the rhythm of the spheres
**Spin the planet backwards in time
**Show your friends that the Earth is not flat
**Meditate on the meaning of your favorite science fiction film or psychedelic rock album lyrics

Dark Side of the Earth was programmed and designed by a single student, Alexey Beall, as a part of the EarthGames team.

We’ll see you on the Dark Side of the Earth!

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Updates for EcoTrivia and Climate Quest!

At long last, EcoTrivia: Save the Animals and Climate Quest have been upgraded to version 2.0!

EcoTrivia features entirely redone background and character art by Rikki Parent, along with new easy and hard questions. Try to reach the high score in both categories!

ClimateQuest still features the great, strategic gameplay that won 1st place at the 2015 Climate Game Jam, but now the text scrolling can be sped up, and the game has a revamped UI!

 

 

Game Review: Thoreau-ly Tranquil

By Lars Olsen

Walden, a Game undertakes the seemingly impossible task of converting American philosopher Henry David Thoreau’s most popular piece of literature into a video game. Nevertheless, the result is a surprisingly thoughtful experience focused on achieving work-life balance. You would be hard-pressed to find a more peaceful, reflective survival game available.

The game is a first-person simulation of the social experiment that Thoreau captured in his famous book, Walden. Beginning in the summer of 1845, the game loosely follows the timeline of his first year living in the woods at Walden Pond. The player undertakes their own journey of “living deliberately” in these woods near the town of Concord, Massachusetts, in a landscape modeled after reality, right down to the flora and fauna.

On this journey, players are in full control of their actions and the resulting consequences. You can play Walden like a classic survival game – fishing, mending clothes, and chopping wood all day – but lack of rest and reflection will cause your character to lose inspiration, silencing the birds and draining color from the woods. Alternatively, you may play the game like a virtual stroll through the woods – listening to bird calls and identifying plants – but you will soon starve and freeze. The key to success is finding a balance between work and meditation, just as Thoreau did.

We live in a society where “busy” is equated with “successful”, but Walden allows you to rethink what is truly important in life. This gentle pace challenges the player to find satisfaction through introspection and simple pleasures. We have been well trained by survival games to constantly search for the next task and finish as much as possible before sun-down. In Walden, no monsters come in the night, leaving you with plenty of time for a stroll around the pond. This format takes some getting used to, but it is an excellent reminder to slow down in the real world too.

The themes posed by Walden may be more important than ever for a generation of Millennials that have grown up with smartphones in their pockets. The game is also likely a more inviting medium to explore for a younger audience than the novel, so it makes the story more accessible than ever. Along with this accessibility, Walden has strong educational potential for players of all ages. Playing upon Thoreau’s values of environmentalism and self-reliance, the game can revitalize these same ideas that have been discussed in classrooms for over a century.  

Walden brings to life the Walden Woods and makes Thoreau’s story available to everyone. It immerses players in these tranquil woods, and advocates for a slower pace of life. Given Thoreau’s scorn for technological advances speeding up life, I wonder how he would react to his experiment being condensed into a 6-hour video game. Nonetheless, Walden provides an opportunity for everyone to take a trip to the woods and consider the pace of life.

Summary
Gameplay/Fun: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Educational: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Scientific Rigor: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Accessibility: Ages 8+
Platform: itch.io – Windows and MacOS – $18.45