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Al Gore considers video games to fight climate change

Al Gore believes the future of the climate change fight lies in computer games and social media.

Gamers are certainly not strangers to being confronted by controversial issues in plotlines and play. But how convinced will they be by a game which attempts to change their behaviour towards the environment and climate?

Former US vice-president turned international climate change campaigner Al Gore has called for software developers to better utilise social media and video game platforms to raise awareness of the need to change our attitude to the environment.

Mr Gore's plea came during his address at a recent PSFK event, where there was discussion of existing climate change gaming concepts.

Among them was the new RealiTree concept, created by Stark Design. The basic concept is a virtual tree that reflects the climate and is maintained by a community of users. Creator Daniel Stark describes RealiTree as "like a gigantic Tomagotchi game that … thousands of people can play to keep this tree alive and well".

Other concepts include a text-based RPG based on the classic game Oregon Trail, renamed Climate Trail, and a Climate Reality Patrol game where players separate fact from fiction in environment news feeds.

Gore's idea is that, faced with difficulties attempting to influence governments' approaches to climate change, campaigners need to change their strategy and attempt to capture people's imagination in other ways - utilising games and social media.

"The architecture of the public square on the internet is very similar to when the country was founded, when the print-based media were dominant," Gore explained. "Individuals have easy access, almost no barriers to access, ideas matter."

His comments follow the publication of the Future of Gaming report by PSFK, which examines the expanding role of video and social media games in marketing and brand engagement, particularly with respect to motivating audiences towards a specific goal.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801267332-ADNFCR