Video Not-Games

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I suppose I just may have misunderstood the whole concept somewhere along the way. Now, as I understood it, The Sims is a computer game…in fact, it is very similar to Second Life in many aspects. I also thought that global warming and world climate change were NOT games..and what’s more were not even all that much fun.

If those assumptions were correct, combining them would seem to be a bit like chalk and cheese. Educational, perhaps, but so is a film strip on gum disease but I wouldn’t pay to watch it once, let alone repeatedly.

Yet combined they have been, as this press release from Electronic Arts details.

I REALLY have a bad feeling about this…

EA And BP Collaborate To Include Climate Education In SimCity Societies

New Game in PC Gaming’s Most Popular City-Building Series to Feature Alternatives to Carbon-Producing Energy Sources

REDWOOD CITY-Oct. 10, 2007-Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) and BP have collaborated to include climate change education within SimCity Societies, the next iteration in the genre-defining city-building franchise that has sold more than 18 million games to date. The collaboration brings together world-class game building skills and industry expertise on energy, electricity production and greenhouse gas emissions to highlight the impact of electricity generation on the emissions of carbon dioxide that are linked to climate change. The low-carbon electricity choices and monitoring of SimCity’s carbon emissions provide an entertaining, fully-integrated and accurate look at some of the causes and some of the major solutions available to combat rising levels of carbon and to help address the threat of global warming. SimCity Societies will be available at retailers across North America and Europe November 15.

“Since their inception in 1989, SimCity games have served as excellent creative and educational tools to convey complex subjects. With SimCity Societies, we have the opportunity not only to demonstrate some of the causes and effects of global warming, but also to educate players how seemingly small choices can have a big global impact,” said Steve Seabolt, Vice President of Global Brand Development for The Sims Label at EA. “BP was one of the first major energy companies to publicly acknowledge the need to reduce carbon emissions and begin taking precautionary measures. As such, they are the perfect partner to help educate people on this important social issue in SimCity Societies.”

The game does not force players to power their cities any specific way, but allows them to make choices, each of which come with advantages and disadvantages. Similar to real-life, the least expensive and most readily-available buildings in SimCity Societies are also the biggest producers of carbon dioxide, an invisible gas that contributes to global warming. Should players choose to build cities dependent on these types of sources for power to conserve their in-game money, their carbon ratings will rise and, at reaching critical levels, the game will issue alerts about the threat of the various natural disasters like droughts, heat waves and others that may strike their cities.

Alternatively, players can strive to create a greener environment and avoid hazards caused by excessive carbon emissions by choosing from a variety of BP Alternative Energy low-carbon power options. Using hydrogen and natural gas plants to wind farms and solar power, SimCity Societies encourages people to learn about some of the causes and consequences of global warming in an engaging, educational and meaningful way. While these power sources maintain nearby property values and keep the cities’ citizens safer from disaster, they also mimic real-life in that they cost players more of their funds, and do not produce as much power as less green options that take up similar space. Informative real-world snippets about power production and conservation will also be available in-game, informing players of global warming issues both virtually and in reality.

“The time was right for this partnership. EA was developing the next iteration of the SimCity series at the same time that we were looking for opportunities to raise awareness about low-carbon power choices,” said Carol Battershell, Vice President, BP Alternative Energy. “EA has a powerful reach to the next generation and BP has a suite of low-carbon power alternatives. In our collaboration through this innovative game, we can provide education on the issues surrounding climate change, its association with carbon emissions and the ability to take early positive action through low-carbon power choices.”

“Low carbon power choices…” WAHOO, that DOES sound like a blast!  Someone fire up the oil burning popcorn popper and I’ll go make us some martinis!

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1 Comment

  1. /laughs/

    Well, as an old Civilization player, this is nothing new, and I think it’s a good idea. Yay education. I haven’t played Sim City in a loooonng time, but as I recall it was about as complex as Civ. So I expect all these global warming details will fit into gameplay just as well as all the other details about creating a large civilization.

    The marketing-speke of the article, though… they make it sound awfully odd and not-fun.
    /throws crumpled-up wads of recycled paper at their PR department.


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