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Cameron Kunzelman
Mercer University
“Video Games As Interventions In The Climate Disaster”


This essay begins with a deep scepticism that video games can convince or entrain their players into accomplishing concrete goals when it comes to the current environmental catastrophe. It works through the relationship between aesthetics, game mechanics, and politics through three modes in which video games have engaged questions of the environment. The first is through modeling climate change and its effects, allowing players to interact with that model. The second is through affect, by which this essay means the creation of specific contexts to generate particular forms of feeling and emotion. The third way takes elements for both of these and purposefully puts players in a context in which their digital existence is as wrapped up in climate change as our own lives are in the world outside the game. The essay calls these direct intervention games, and argues that they are the best mode through which video games can approach climate change if they are to achieve anything of consequence in the political and social realms.