Level Up! The Evolution of Environmental Themes In The Video Game Industry

Authors: Michael Davis*, Kutztown University
Topics: Environment, Climatology and Meteorology, Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: video games, environmentalism, climate change
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


The video games of the early 1990s have an appreciable depth of environmental tones that seem prophetic by today’s standards as climate change and environmental degradation have emerged as significant topics of scientific and geographic inquiry. The political and cultural environment of the late 1980s and early 1990s played a significant role in the development of environmentally-minded video games. Since the 20th century, the depiction of these environmental themes have changed with a greater understanding of environmental science literature, have incorporated educational qualities to game play, and have migrated from large video game developers (e.g., Sega and Nintendo) to independent developers (e.g., thatgamecompany and Plethora Project). An overview of the evolution of environmental themes in video games is presented by examining individual games along with trends in the video game industry.

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