On playing with the future

While researching Serious Games for your latest intervention in the media world you found Climate Challenge.
You decided to share it.

climate challenge

..and here’s what Wikipedia’s got to say about the game:

Climate Challenge is a Flash-based global warming game produced by the BBC and developed by Red Redemption. Players manage the economy and resources of the ‘European Nations’ as its president, while reducing emissions of CO2 to combat climate change and managing crises. Climate Challenge is an environmental serious game, designed to give players an understanding of the science behind climate change, as well as the options available to policy makers and the difficulties in their implementation.

* 1 Gameplay
o 1.1 Policy cards
o 1.2 Resources
* 2 Criticisms
* 3 Red Redemption
* 4 Sources


Policy cards

The game begins in 1990 and ends in 2100(although the last turn is in 2090). This time is divided into turns for every 10 years. Every turn, players may choose up to six policy cards to implement. Policy cards come from five different categories: National, Trade, Industry, Local, and Household. National policies are strategies that are implemented on the scale of entire countries, like hosting the Olympics, sending a shuttle to Mars, and creating the carbon police. Trade policies are either import or export policies of different resources and technologies, and also includes sending aid to developing countries. Industry policies include different agricultural methods and switching coal to oil. Local policies include things like rainwater use, housing regulations, and landfill power plants. Finally, household policies deal with the everyday lives of the populace, like setting emissions standards, regulating efficiency standards of household appliances, and promoting energy efficient light bulbs.

Policy cards become unavailable as resources become scarce.
A water shortage, caused by the player exhausting the water resource on the previous turn.

The four resources of the game are money, power, food, and water. Each is measured by a meter in the upper-left corner of the screen and by clicking on any individual item, a graph of the resource over time is displayed. Each turn, a red section on the grey bar shows the estimated amount by which that resource will be reduced, and a green section shows the estimated growth. These bars adjust themselves to the selected policies as they are affected. Most policy cards deplete or grow different resources, and if any of the resource bars are reduced to nothing or are entirely in the red, policy cards requiring that resource become unavailable. When a resource is exhausted by the end of the turn, the player must manage a corresponding disaster the following turn.


Many players have complained that the mechanism the game uses to measure wealth, or the health of the economy, is very faulty and is not very realistic. According to developers, the game was meant to have a different system of measuring the health of the economy, but deadlines prevented the final version from including the more accurate system.

Red Redemption

Red Redemption is a serious game developer based in Oxford, UK. Red Redemption produced Climate Challenge in conjunction with the BBC, the Environmental Change Institute and the University of Oxford.

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