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Game Developers' Approaches to Communicating Climate Change / Anouschka Foltz; Claire Williams; Sarah A. Gerson; David J. Reynolds; Sarah Pogoda; Taslima Begum; Sean Walton
Frontiers in Communication, Volume: 4
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Educational games are potential tools for communicating climate science to the public and thus improving public understanding of climate change. In this article we explore the use of co-design methodologies, a participatory open design process, to communicate climate change to a wider audience. To t...
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Educational games are potential tools for communicating climate science to the public and thus improving public understanding of climate change. In this article we explore the use of co-design methodologies, a participatory open design process, to communicate climate change to a wider audience. To this end, we hosted Climate Jam 2018, a game jam with the objective of creating games to communicate climate change science and to gain insight into how developers approach educational game design. The inclusive event attracted professional game developers and hobbyists from four continents. Participants received a science pack with scientific information about climate change and completed a pre- and post-game-jam survey containing questions relating to climate change, motivations, and game design principles. We present a description of select games that highlight different approaches to communicating climate change to a general audience. Additional results from the surveys showed that few game developers engaged with the science pack and other resources in depth, that communicating climate science was of medium interest to game developers, and that the games’ potential learning effects relate mostly to memorizing and recalling the information communicated in the games. The results are discussed with respect to improving communication between scientists and game developers in the co-creation process.
Originality: Game designers’ approach to designing education games was investigated using an international game jam event.Rigour: This work was the result of a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, including psychologists, climate change experts and game designers. This led to a robust methodology for all the research questions investigated.Significance: Led to an interview for an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences news section (PNAS is the second most cited journal across all fields) https://www.pnas.org/content/116/16/7602. Led to one of the participants writing a Wired Article encouraging game designers to create climate change games https://www.wired.co.uk/article/climate-change-game-design-simcity-civilisation.