Environmentally conscious computer gamers can now live out their fantasy of controlling mother nature's climate -- all while sitting at their computer. "Fate of the World," a computer software game billing itself as "a strategy game with a social conscience," lets players "protect the world's climate and resources while managing a growing population demanding more power, food and living space." AFP reports:
"'Fate of the World' is a scenario-based game where you run Earth for 200 years and you save it or potentially destroy it. The whole power is in your hands," said the game's British inventor Gobion Rowlands.
The player takes charge as head of the fictional Global Environment Organisation (GEO). They can impose policies such as banning logging in the Amazon rainforest, making all Europe's public transport run on electricity or slapping a one-child policy on the whole of Asia.
It's like Al Gore's dream! However, game pros warn, "such power comes with grave consequences."
If, for example, you decide to bring down the birth rate to protect natural resources, the workforce could plunge and people could be forced to work until 80, triggering unrest against the GEO.
Gamers see the impact of their decisions: orangutans are saved from extinction, global temperatures drop by a degree; however, bad moves could see Europe battered by floods, or Africa ravaged by war.
"Even if they choose to destroy the world, they still learn more about the subject," said Rowlands, the 35-year-old head of video games developer Red Redemption, which employs 15 people at its base in Oxford, southern England.
"Fate of the World" is a sequel to "Climate Challenge," a 2007 game produced by the BBC which focused only on Europe.
"This game offers a new way of telling the climate change story and helps us to reach new audiences," said Ged Barker, the British digital campaigns leader for the Oxfam aid agency.
"Those who play the game will learn about climate change... without having to read lots of material that they might find boring."
According to the AFP, private developers worked with some interesting third party characters to develop this new gaming software -- including the United Nations and NASA, two organizations that have been at the center of "Climategate" scandals in the recent past.
According to a spokesman of Red Redemption, the development company, the parties are currently working on a deal to share future profits.