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 for iOS

Now playable in your browser on itch.io here!

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!

 

 

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!

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Infrared Escape is now available on iPad as well!  Download it here for Android and iPhone/iPad.
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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.

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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!

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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!

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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)