We all know that commute times can be unending, so we usually prefer to match a couple of candies or build an empire through our smartphones. What if you could do something greater than that: change the planet? Or even better, tell the government what needs to be done to save the climate? It's time you check out the Mission 1.5 game.
The idea for this game struck Cassie Flynn, Strategic Advisor for Climate Change for the UN Development Program, during her subway commute. She noticed that her fellow passengers were all doing something or the other with their smartphones. The majority of them were just playing games to wail away time. She thought, “What if we could meet people there?”
The concept was to use the in-game ads as a platform to educate people about climate change. In the game, the user is a global leader with a mission to stop the world temperature from going over 1.5℃. One can choose from six different categories namely land and oceans, infrastructure and cities, farms and food, energy, protecting people and green economy. The various changes the user makes on these categories will help the climate stay below the required temperature.
The fun doesn't end when you close the game. All the data collected by the user interactions were compiled to make it one of the largest ever polls conducted by the UN with over 1.2 million votes. The University of Oxford and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) compiled the polls to create The People’s Climate Vote. This report spans over 50 countries and a wide range of age groups that helped create a comprehensive insight on climate change.
All the results were put forward to the actual policymakers of the nations, in order to showcase what their respective citizens cared about the most.
The Mission 1.5 game was nominated for The Webby Awards under the category of Public Service, Activism and Social Impact Games in 2020. All the accolades that the game got shows the importance of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Climate Action in play.
Following the success of the Mission 1.5 campaign, Playmob; the developer of the game and the UN Environment Programme partnered to form the Playing for the Planet Alliance. The alliance brings game developers together and encourages them to create games that are committed to fight climate change.
As per the latest report of the alliance, the Green Game Jam (a yearly game expo with a green initiative) saw more participants joining with more games showcasing a green activation in them. Over 130 million gamers engaged on themes related to saving oceans and trees that helped raise $800,000 in donations. 60% of the alliance members have decided to go carbon neutral/negative by 2030.
Never before have video games made such an impact to help stop climate change. The next time you decide on downloading a game, make sure you download games from one of the many developers of the Playing for the Planet Alliance. Play to save!
For more information about Mission 1.5, check out this TED talk.