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!

 

 

Infrared Escape updated!

There’s a whole new atmosphere in Infrared Escape version 2.0!  We’ve completely overhauled the gameplay and design, and it’s even more fun now!  The level select is now a timeline, showing the sources and amount of pollution you’ll have to dodge.

IMG_1498.PNGWe’ve also added a large amount of unlockable science facts about the greenhouse effect and solutions to climate change.  Try to collect them all!

IMG_1502.PNG

Infrared Escape is now available on iPad as well!  Download it here for Android and iPhone/iPad.
IMG_0154.PNG
EarthGames team members Samuel Dassler, Amara Kitnikone, Sara Brostrom, and Rikki Parent all worked hard on the new version.  Please download, share, rate, and review the new version!  We’d appreciate your comments on the game as well.

Eco, Shelter 2, and Walden win awards at inaugural EarthGames on Tap

By Sara Breslow, Center for Creative Conservation

Three earth-friendly video games won awards at the Center for Creative Conservation’s inaugural EarthGames on Tap event, which took place May 18, 2017 in Seattle. Twelve stunning “earthgames” were entered into the games showcase. A panel of three judges carefully evaluated the games based on their potential to have an environmental impact and the quality of their game play. In the judges’ competition, Shelter 2 won first place and Walden won second place. In addition, audience members voted for their favorite game, and Eco won the people’s choice award. Congratulations! We hope EarthGames on Tap inspires more video games that are good for people and the planet, and we hope to see all of the participating developers, and more, at our next event.

eco.jpgwalden.jpgshelter2.jpg

Announcing Infrared Escape!

EarthGames is proud to announce Infrared Escape, a game that combines frantic arcade fun with… learning about the greenhouse effect!? You have to try it to believe it!

FairMarriedFlounder-size_restricted.gif

You play the role of an infrared light beam, trying to make it out to space. Along the way you have to dodge pesky greenhouse gases by tapping left or right.

Each collision with a greenhouse gas causes your beam to lose some energy. If you keep grazing the gases, it’s game over.

Your journey through the air is divided into levels — each one an actual layer of the atmosphere. A fun fact about the planet is presented between levels.

Making it through the Earth’s atmosphere and into space is a great accomplishment! It means your ray has done its part to cool down the Earth and offset global warming.

The easiest mode is the pre-industrial past, so there aren’t as many greenhouse gases to dodge. The hardest difficulty corresponds with a much more polluted future. Light-speed reaction times will be needed to conquer this mode, since greenhouse gases are so tightly packed in the air.

Infrared Escape was designed and built by EarthGames alum Ben Peterson and Professor Dargan Frierson. Make sure to crank the volume on Dargan’s pulsing electronic dance soundtrack!

infrared escape title.png

Game Review: Upgrading to Renewable Energy

By Lars Olsen

Create and design your own eco-friendly city in Plan It Green (PiG): The Big Switch!

Presented in 2013 by National Geographic, General Electric, and the Center for Science, PiG is a flash-based city-building game that puts you in control of your town’s future. Players must make difficult decisions in order to balance resources and create an energy-efficient metropolis.

PiG is the environmentalist’s version of SimCity, a simulated city-design game. The player uses resources to design buildings and infrastructure in an effort to create a sustainable and green urban environment. Playing as the mayor of your fictional city, you must balance your income and expenditures of hearts, gold, goods, energy, and population while maintaining the environment. As you develop your city and complete missions, you will gain experience and unlock more efficient and eco-friendly structures. The game also features an arcade game that helps you generate resources, and an array of short videos by G.E. (~3 minutes) about positive environmental innovations.  

The educational potential of PiG is enormous because it highlights modern green innovations and demonstrates the potential impacts in a meaningful way to children. PiG also captures the complexities of energy management and gives players the opportunity to navigate these challenges for themselves. You get to decide how to spend your money and where to place buildings. Educational games often use the SimCity format because it provides opportunities for higher-level learning through critical thinking and problem solving. PiG elaborates on this model with multiplayer support to promote collaboration amongst players and potentially students in a classroom setting.

There are some fantastic features in PiG, but the game has a fatal flaw: the pace of the gameplay is excruciatingly slow because you are often waiting for your resources to recharge. This leaves the player with very little to do for extended periods of time, which is quite boring, and detracts from the educational potential. At least you have plenty of time to watch their videos!   

This game is quite scientifically rigorous, and includes a lot of information on modern energy infrastructure. Each building option includes information about the costs, requirements, and results which allows players to make informed decisions for their city. In addition to the informative gameplay, their videos provide supplemental stories on innovations like solar roadways. All of this information is at a middle school comprehension level, so I wouldn’t recommend PiG for a younger audience.

Plan it Green is similar to several other SimCity-style games, but it stands out by incorporating modern renewable energy infrastructure and providing a sleek user interface. The well-made videos quickly deliver some fantastic stories. After a long session, you may become frustrated by the pace of the game, but you will certainly be proud of your city once you start making the big switch to renewable energy.

Summary
Gameplay/Fun: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Educational: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Scientific Rigor: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Accessibility: Ages 10-14
Platform: Web browser (flash)

Game Review: When thunder roars, go indoors!

By Lars Olsen

Alert! Alert! A hurricane warning has just been issued for your area. What do you do?! Severe weather events are scary for people of all ages, especially if they aren’t prepared. This is why PLAN!T NOW partnered with NOAA, NEA and the National Weather Service to present the Young Meteorologist Program (YMP), a “Severe Weather Preparedness Adventure!” This game provides a less-threatening method to learn about extreme weather and how to stay safe. There is growing evidence that climate change has been increasing the frequency and intensity of severe weather (especially hurricanes and winter storms), so now more than ever it is important for people of all ages to know what to do in case of a disaster.

This is a roll-and-move type video game which takes you through challenges based on five types of severe weather: hurricanes, lightning, floods, tornadoes, and winter storms. With a “bird’s-eye-view” of the game board, you play as Owlie, a talking screech owl. You are guided through the challenges with help from three senior meteorologists — one of which is a condor named Gird. Each roll takes you to a tile with a scripted event or mini game. Owlie learns about emergency protocols and procedures through quick games and tips in each challenge. These games include word searches, memory games, point & click games, and more. Most are relatively easy, but they help to keep the player entertained throughout the program. Completing these various tasks earns you a “Young Meteorologist Certificate.” Personally, I will be framing mine for my bedroom.

This game has enormous educational potential by providing the player with specific information for each type of severe weather. For example, the time of year and regions hurricanes are most likely to occur in, how to avoid lightning, where to go in case of a flood, etc. For a game that takes less than an hour to complete, it packs in a remarkable amount of information. By sparking discussions, this knowledge has the potential to make families more equipped for emergencies. Traditional methods for preparing for severe weather can often be intimidating to children, and video games offer a more-accessible education.

While the game is educational and entertaining, it has several limitations. The mini games are brief and much of the time is spent listening to the scientists address severe weather. The main game, including the dice rolls, are scripted which creates a lack in competitiveness and unpredictability. For this reason, I would recommend the game more for younger children.

The scientific material provided by the YMP is quite thorough in ensuring people stay safe from weather. The game explores the underlying causes for severe weather in addition to emergency procedures. Complex topics like pressure systems are often explained first with a high-level vocabulary by one scientist before the others help a younger audience to understand.

The YMP is a fun and safe way for kids to learn about the dangers posed by severe weather. It also provides them with the tools to ensure their safety and feel in control during emergencies. Although it is more of a tutorial than a standard video game, I believe it is the best way to teach kids about something so significant.

Summary
Gameplay/Fun: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Educational: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Scientific Rigor: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Accessibility: Ages 6-13
Platform: Web browser