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Video game allows gamers to save the world from climate change

In most video games, saving the Earth means fighting off an alien invasion. But <em>Fate of the World</em>, the upcoming eco-conscious game from U.K. developers Red Redemption, has other ideas.

­In most video games, saving the Earth means fighting off an alien invasion. But Fate of the World, the upcoming eco-conscious game from U.K. developers Red Redemption, has other ideas.


In this new strategy game, players are given 200 years to stop severe global warming by any means, from alternative energy sources, making policy decisions to destroying countries.


Game director Matt Miles Griffiths warns of drastic consequences: “Computer gamers might think that wiping out the U.S. would solve some problems, but the loss of food production alone will send the world’s economy into a tailspin. And you run the risk of being tried as a war criminal.”


Based on scientific data, the PC game – to be released February 2011 – shows how the world’s economic, environmental and political problems are interlinked. But it’s not a dry textbook; here are four crazy yet possible scenarios:

Melt the world
Microscopic nano-robots might be cute, but take care they don’t replicate to make “red goo,” which breaks down everything it touches at a molecular level, then spreads and spreads.

Relive The Terminator
“AI can lead to machines that despise humanity,” Griffiths says. But there’s a bright side: “Fusion-powered Terminators are actually quite environmentally friendly,” he chuckles.

Freeze the Earth
“You can fire particles into the atmosphere to reduce the effect of the sun,” explains creative director Ian Roberts, “but if you go too far you can create a new ice age.”

Create a genetic disaster
“Genetic manipulation allows you to adapt plants or animals for survival,” says Roberts, “but you run the risk of creating terrible, incurable diseases.”


More eco-friendly games


Climate Challenge
Red Redemption’s predecessor to Fate of the World, this BBC-hosted game asks players to balance ecological pressure, financial realities and public popularity. Play it at: www.goo.gl/mYILK


Greencity
U.S. schools can use this adapted version of the SimCity Societies videogame to teach six-to-12-year-olds about alternative energy sources. No word on if kids can unleash SimCity’s classic monsters on their towns.


Smartguage
Ford’s EcoGuide screens add a gaming element to real-life driving: the more efficient you are with energy, the more healthy the digitized vines on your display become.


Flower
Is climate change stressing you out? Flower might be the answer. This supremely relaxing PS3 game lets you take control of the wind itself as it blows petals through a verdant landscape.



 
 
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