Calling Northwest Game Devs!

At Earthgames, we’re always asking the question: Can games change the world?  And we’re inviting you to help us find the answer!

Solving environmental problems and playing games may not seem compatible, but perhaps they can be.  To find out, we’re planning a fun and inspiring evening called EarthGames “On Tap” at ImpactHub Seattle on Thursday, May 18 from 6 – 9PM. This event will bring together both UW researchers and local video game developers to spark collaborations on new games for change – specifically, video games that are good for people and the planet.

This creative and highly collaborative event is a first of its kind in Puget Sound and will leverage the interdisciplinary connections of the College of the Environment. It will consist of talks by devs and researchers working toward environmental, educational, and social change.   We are also inviting devs from the region to submit games for consideration to be showcased at the  event!   All showcased games will be evaluated by a panel of expert judges who will be awarding valuable prizes.      

We are currently curating a selection of 8-10 games who take inspiration from environmental themes or whose aim is to expand audience awareness for environmental issues.   If interested, please email with links to your game description, a trailer or play through video, and short bio about your studio and yourself.  

Submission deadline is April 18th, 2017.

Announcing EcoTrivia: Save the Animals!

Free downloads now available for MacPCiPhone/iPad and Android!

We’re proud to announce our newest game, EcoTrivia: Save the Animals!  In this game you are led by animal ambassadors through four different ecosystems: a toucan in the rainforest, a polar bear in the Arctic, a clownfish in a coral reef, and a pika in the mountains.  In each area you have to answer trivia questions to protect the animals from climate change and habitat destruction.

EcoTrivia: Save the Animals! was made by Rashmi Sharma, Rittwika Rudra, and Courtney Harris for their Information School MSIM capstone project, in collaboration with Dargan Frierson.  Erica Escajeda provided questions for the polar bear section, and many members of EarthGamesUW helped with testing.

The game has already won a best design award from the UW Information School! EcoTrivia: Save the Animals! is freely available for MacPC, iOS and Android!



Teacher’s Guide for Climate Quest

Interested in using our game in an educational setting?  Check out our new Teacher’s Guide for Climate Quest!

The game was designed specifically for a classroom or a museum setting, and is chock-full of interesting scientific content.  It focus on impacts of climate change on the US, and strategies that can be used to deal with the consequences.

It takes only 10 minutes to play through the game.  The teacher’s guide includes both pre- and post-play activities, and a set of detailed scientific sources about each individual event, in case you’d like to learn more.

The teacher’s guide can be downloaded here: ClimateQuest-TeachersGuide.

Climate Game Jam @ UW, Apr 22-24

I’m pleased to announce that UW will be hosting a site for the upcoming Climate Game Jam, sponsored by the White House, the Smithsonian, and NOAA. Students at the undergraduate and graduate level are welcome to participate.

During the game jam, teams will work intensely over a 48 hour period to rapidly prototype games about climate change and water.  More information is available here:

We hosted a site for a similar event with the same sponsors last October, and UW teams placed 1st and 3rd in the nation!  As part of the prize, students were able to show their games at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

We’ll start at 5 PM on Friday April 22 and end at 5 PM on Sunday April 24.  Our site will be open the entire 48 hour period, but there’s certainly no obligation to work long hours (we were the only site in the country open all 48 hours last time).

No prior knowledge of game design or climate science is necessary.  We will have experts in each of those areas available at the site.  Any student is welcome to participate (including graduate students).

For more information or to register, send an email to

ClimateQuest Free Downloads Available!

Climate disasters are causing chaos all around the US, and only you can save the day in ClimateQuest (first place winning game)! Guide your 4 heroes to respond to disruptions across the country. Download ClimateQuest for Mac and PC.

Link for more info about ClimateQuest:

We’d love to hear from you if you download our game!  Write us with comments, suggestions or to join our mailing list at

Combatting climate change is fun and games for EarthGamesUW

We were recently featured in the University of Washington College of the Environment news.  Check out the article to hear from Dargan Frierson about how games can be used to teach, and help young people deal with climate change.


Rob Thompson, Will Chen, and Rachel Lee of EarthGamesUW working on their game AdaptNation at the Climate Game Jam.

Dargan Frierson becomes a guest quiz writer for Habitat the Game

The KidsApp Habitat the Game asked Dargan to write some quiz questions for their game. They also interviewed him for their fans. Below is a transcript of the interview.

Dargan was nice enough to write a couple of new questions for Habitat. Every time players answer one of his questions correctly they will be learning about climate science and receive Habitat points. We thought we should find out a little about what it was like to be a climate scientist.

Tell us a little about your job?

I’m an associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at University of Washington.  I do research on climate and climate change.  I lead a group of students and researchers who study questions like “Why are deserts and rainy regions located where they are?  How will rainfall patterns change in the future?”  I also teach classes in atmospheric science.  I especially enjoy teaching the big global warming class for non-scientists.  

What made you want to get into climate science?

I grew up on the coast of North Carolina, so hurricanes were a big part of my childhood.  When I was in college, Hurricane Floyd hit, which was by far the biggest one we had ever experienced.  After seeing all the destruction from that hurricane, I wanted to know whether storms like that will happen more in the future.  

Dargan Frierson and daughter Eleanor

What do you think is least understood about climate science?

The least understood part of climate science is not actually about the science, it’s about scientists.  Most people think that there’s a lot of disagreement about climate change, but actually over 97% of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening and that it’s due to humans.  When you look at the scientific data about our planet, this isn’t surprising.  We have increased greenhouse gas levels by a tremendous amount, and they’re definitely causing the climate to change.  

How do you see kids engaging with information on the climate and environment? Is their attitude different from adults?

I think kids can envision a totally different future much better than adults.  So they have the inspiration and energy that is needed to build a greener planet.  

Tell us a little about why you are hopeful?

The recent expansion of alternative energy gives me a lot of hope.  For instance, the world is producing over 100 times as much solar energy as in the year 2000!  It also makes me feel hopeful to meet people who care about climate change and are doing something about it.  

Do you think games can play a role in climate change?

Yes!  When I was a kid, games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego and SimEarth helped me get excited about learning about the planet.  I think games can be especially effective in teaching about climate change, where it’s often hard to see the consequences of your own actions.  This is why I was really excited to be able to contribute some content to Habitat!  

This map shows the average precipitation on Earth, something Dargan studies. The map was created by Dargan and his former student Yen-Ting Hwang.