Five Ways to Game Global Warming

These online ecofantasies put the fun back into saving the planet.

Image: Courtesy Electronic Arts

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The ultrahyped Spore isn’t the only game where global warming is part of the virtual landscape.

SimCity Societies
(Electronic Arts with BP)
the goal: Evolve from farm to megacity, using BP’s “alternative energy” module to avert climate disasters.
cool factor: Punish carbon-heavy cities with Transformerslike robots.

Planet Green Game
(Starbucks with Global Green USA)
the goal: Bike through town, “greening” public spaces, learning about real-life projects as you go.
cool factor: Soothing indie-rock soundtrack steals focus from pedantic quizzes.

Planet Slayer
(Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
the goal: As Greena the Worrier Princess, you save the planet from flocks of airborne shopping bags, winning…a hug from a koala.
cool factor: Cloying teen-girl color scheme triggers a Pavlovian aversion to excess packaging.

Michael, Michael, Go Recycle!
(parenting community
the goal: Pick up cans and garbage, Pac-Man style. Bump into “litterbugs” to make green leaves come out of their heads.
cool factor: Kids will see right through this virtual chore.

Climate Challenge
(British Broadcasting Corporation)
the goal: Balance progress and popularity to stay in office from 1990 to 2080: Save Europe’s environment; win votes by hosting the Olympics again and again.
cool factor: Playing power-crazed politician is addictive.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend