Let the world burn! – Energy Days Berlin

Powerful Narratives of Climate (not only) in the Medium of Games | A Fishbowl Discussion about Framing, Story Making, Game Design and Climate Psychology | 03.05.2022  13:30 – 15:30

A panel discussion on this highly interesting field of tension with representatives from both sides of the (gaming) table and with you – because a place in the fishbowl is free for your contributions and opinions on the topic. May 3 2022 – Event page @EnergieTage

The world is in ruins, the climate is out of control, humanity is at the crossroads of its existence or already far beyond it – last tribes of humanity are fighting over the last resources of a dying planet: Narratives of climate and environment in the medium of games, especially in leading productions, are often world-destruction dystopias in which the climate crisis is primarily the causal canvas for those conflicts that the game is actually about. The collapse of the global ecosystem is a pleasing „hook“ for martial images of the future and society, in which mere „survival“ is the goal of all striving – detailed borderline experiences that are immensely fun and therefore also sell ideally.

This is almost countered by numerous theories of „good climate communication“, which above all try to analyze how we can communicate effectively, i.e. in a motivating and action-guiding way instead of with a view to doom, in short: that communication should always be designed positively and that frames should never be chosen negatively because of their self-reinforcing character. For this can unsettle, trigger fears about the future, thereby inhibiting and leading to psychological stress – in the worst case, the climate crisis is simply denied in order to protect oneself, or even becomes a depressive clinical picture: eco-anxiety in its final stage. This is the theory.

Numerous questions arise from this area of tension: Can games that want to sell well even draw positive images and dispense with the „end of the world“? Are successful games with a doomsday character detrimental to climate communication and thus antagonistic to professional efforts to create a „better world“? Or can bridges be built; are game dystopias and real-world utopias actually two sides of the same coin? Do we perhaps even need the unsightly mirror in the face of our society and can games be this mirror? What tasks can be derived here for both sides – the gaming industry and political communication – and where does this almost inevitably lead to cooperation in the matter?

Prof. Dr. Birgit Schneider Universität Potsdam, Professur für Wissenskulturen und mediale Umgebungen Moritz Lehr CD Projekt RED, Quest Designer, Cyberpunk 2077; Games Academy Berlin, Dozent für Ethik in Computerspielen Janna Hoppmann Klimapsychologie | Beratung und Weiterbildung, Klimapsychologin; Psychologin M.Sc. Jens Isensee Serious Bros., CEO & Creative Lead Christopher Schrader klimafakten.de, Autor „Handbuch Klimakommunikation“; Riffreporter.de, Freier Wissenschafts-Journalist