Climate Action

This video game world shows a dystopian future where we fail to stop climate change

Attendees play Roller Champions by UbiSoft Entertainment at the Paris Games Week (PGW), a trade fair for video games in Paris, France, October 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier - RC1192A33C00

Game developer William Volk wants people to put themselves into a situation which "could happen". Image: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Victor Tangermann
Writer and Photo Editor, Futurism
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Digital Communications

Climate Trail

In the new free-to-play video game “Climate Trail,” developer William Volk imagines an apocalyptic world in which we failed to fight climate change.

The title — available on iOS, Android, macOS and Windows — is a nod towards the iconic educational video game “Oregon Trail,” an iconic simulator of 19th-century pioneer life.

But rather than being set over a hundred years ago, according to Gizmodo, players have to make their way journeying through a bleak, late 21st century landscape. Volk envisions the “climate trail” itself as the only way to survive in a post-climate catastrophe world, leading away from deadly heatwave temperatures in the American South to a much cooler Canada.

“I’m trying to fight the fight by basically putting people in a situation that could happen,” Volk told Gizmodo. “It’s not impossible.”

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Surviving Climate Change

Players are led through a series of graphic novel-style scenes exploring what such a world would look like. It sounds bleak: empty stores, heatwaves, and gigantic storms. To survive, you’ll have to buy enough food, collect water, and scavenge in city centers.

Different difficulty modes explore different climate scenarios, ranging from the Earth warming just four degrees Celsius all the way to a deadly six.

While models more often explore scenarios where the Earth warms only two degrees Celsius, the scenarios explored in the game are largely in line with science, according to Gizmodo.

“The catch-22 about this game is I started it with a much more optimistic attitude than when I finished it,” Volk told the site. “The more I dug into it, the more it seemed things were actually worse than imagined.”

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