Video game screenshot

A new video game could help young people understand how their real-life actions affect the environment. It’s called Eco, and it’s set to be released in 2017.

In the game’s simulated world, players work together to build a civilization by farming, hunting, building, and selling things. To survive, they must ensure humans and nature both flourish, all while averting natural and man-made disasters.

Barnett: “Everything a player does in the game Eco affects the ecosystem in some way, positive or negative, and they can, if they’re not careful, end up destroying the whole planet that they’re playing on. So the goal is to kind of save it from an impending disaster.”

That’s Steven Barnett, a programmer for Strange Loop Games, the company that created Eco. He says people of all ages can enjoy the game, but it was developed to teach middle schoolers how people influence – and depend on – the environment.

”‘Eco’ Click To Tweet

Barnett: “Everything the players do has consequences, so for example if players want to start on a big cooperative building project together, then they have to also consider the impact that it’ll have on the plant and animal life.”

By motivating players to consider how their choices affect their virtual world, Eco may also inspire greener choices in real life.

Reporting credit: Daisy Simmons/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Avatar photo

David Appell

A regular contributor to Yale Climate Connections since 2012, David Appell, Ph.D., is a freelance writer living in Salem, Oregon, specializing in the physical sciences, technology, and the environment. His...