Design patterns to craft green messages into games and reduce production impact.

Forge Emotional Bonds with Nature
Helping ourselves feel connected to nature has been proven to help us feel happier, less stressed, and more creative.
It Takes A Village
Even in single-player, single-protagonist games, stories where communities act together for change can be powerful.
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure
Charming environmental activist simulator about documenting and helping animals, running petitions and saving a wildlife reserve from land development.
Roleplay
Taking on the role of a character allows for low-risk experimentation with different points of view to which the player may otherwise not be exposed.
Erode Social License
Call out the corruption, deceit and propaganda of polluting industries, real or fictional, and help ruin their hard-won prestige in the real world!
Thunderbird Strike
A game steeped in Anishinaabe culture, celebrating the indigenous fight against oil pipelines in the Great Lakes region.
Oil Ocean Zone
Associating your villain with fossil fuel production has always been a classy move.
Shinra: The Face of Colonialism
Final Fantasy VII provided us with one of popular culture's most devastating caricatures of capitalism, colonialism and greed.
Acknowledge the Climate Emergency
"The most important thing you can do for climate - talk about it" Dr. Katharine Hayhoe
Climate as Catalyst
Games like Battlefield 2042 embody the risk of climate wars being fought in the near future. Or are they already here?
Put Down Your Tools
When your release day coincides with the world's largest climate protest, what do you prioritize?
Showcase a Climate Solution
Normalize real-world climate solutions by incorporating them into your world lore, story, and/or game mechanics.
Anthropomorphize Everything?
Anything can engender empathy if you put enough human features on it - so when should you?
Meaning in a World of Ruin
Game worlds can be "transapocalyptic" - places that have collapsed, yet they still exist and they are still worth fighting for.
Renewable Worldbuilding
Visions of a renewable future can come from the most unexpected games.
Fossil-Free Survival
Survival games can think seriously about which methods of power generations are available to the player, and how they're portrayed.
Intrinsic Integration
When understanding the target concepts is necessary to interact with the game, learning becomes fun.
Experimentation & Inquiry
Experiment-based gameplay leads to model-based reasoning and systematic knowledge.
Sensory Affect
Emotional connection to environmental issues can be approached through design of visual art, audio or force feedback.
Transactive Learning & Transformational Play
When player action significantly impacts the game world in ways that are visible and persistent, it can boost emotional engagement and sense of self-efficacy.
Competition
At worst, competition without meaningful context has the risk of actively encouraging anti-environmental behaviors and thinking.
Collaboration
The act of collaborative problem solving (with players or NPCs) can greatly increase the effectiveness of a player’s learning experience.
Facilitation & Communication
Facilitators guiding the discussion after gameplay can prompt questions to guide thinking, mitigate confusion, and create deeper understanding.
The Metagame
Forums, fan groups, Let’s Plays, E-Sports commentary, UGC, and/or modding communities can add depth and meaning to the experience.
SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge
A modified version of SimCity designed to teach systems thinking.
Power-Saving Mode
Add an" Eco mode" in console or games settings to save power.
Miracle Ports
Bring the extra optimization done for console or mobile ports back to high-end devices.
Lightweight Patches
Prep your game so you can upload neat patches instead of having to replace huge chunks of the game each time.
Reduce Internet Traffic
Downloading data from the internet uses electricity, so as game developers, we would do well to minimize the amount of data players have to download.
Paradise in Ruins
Games create intimate relationships between player and place in a way that no other medium can replicate. Suddenly changing a […]
Disgusting Dystopia
Plasticity presents a near future choking under plastic waste, designed with Forced Discomfort to make players react in disgust. In […]
Beyond Target Framerate
Most game developers are already great at optimizing our games to save limited resources – how else would we get […]
Low-End Support
Developers should aim to always release on multiple platforms at once: it doesn’t only increase the reach of our potential […]
Graphical Sufficiency
Picking the right art style from the start makes it much easier to both Reduce Electricity Use at Runtime and […]
Terra Nil
Eco
Pausing Properly
If your game is paused, why render it at full resolution? How Halo Infinite saved massive amounts of electricity in no time.
Highlight Sustainable Behaviour
Enabling players to experience sustainable lifestyles in fictional worlds can prime them into bringing that mindset into everyday life.
Elevate Environmental Champions
Let players into the minds of heroes who stand up for the planet and future generations to inspire them to be courageous.
Inspire Collective Action
Remind players that changing the world takes more than gaming's usual individualist heroics - lasting change comes from whole communities acting together.
Eco-Roleplay
Players can try out less resource-intense ways of living with digital roleplaying.
Abstraction
Simplifying or removing the context can enable players to process new information - even if it’s not in alignment with their existing biases.
Movement Building Games
Meet the games that lay the foundation for a new genre of movement building.
Facilitate Grief for the World
The climate crisis is a major existential threat that can be very overwhelming. Games and storytelling can help us process emotions into action.
Imagine a Sustainable Future
Unlike dystopias featuring urban decay and corruption, solarpunk helps us imagine worlds where crises are solved with camaraderie and ingenuity.
Reveal Costs of Extraction
Challenge age-old gaming tropes to remind players that nothing lasts forever and that pillaging nature's pantry has consequences!
Save the Sperm Whales
Beyond Blue has the player studying a specific pod of sperm whales and investigating sound pollution that disturbs their life.
Beyond Blue
Braving the Lost Forest
When Monument Valley 2 made us think like a tree.
The Tragedy of Galarian Corsola
When coral bleaching came to Pokémon.
Grief as a Game Mechanic
Signs of the Sojourner has an environmental grief system that both breaks us down and ties us together.
Origins of Lanayru Desert
That time when Zelda offered an environmental parable.
Settle With Care
What does a settler game that takes environmental consequences into account look like?
The Extinction Achievement
Extinction mechanics, even when used ironically, are great at reminding players that no resource is limitless.
Reclaiming History
How can settler games avoid their colonial baggage and tell new stories about land and who owns it?
Knowing is Half the Battle
Transformers: Earth War added a new mini-campaign to talk about renewable energy.
Celebrate Indigenous Wisdom
Indigenous communities protect 90% of the planet's remaining biodiversity, with long-standing practices that enrich climate action.
Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)
Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) is a cooperative platformer drawn from the folklore of Alaskan Native peoples, specifically the Iñupiat.
The Rise of World Games
Games can honor the cultures of indigenous peoples across the world, and bring them to life in a new way.
When Rivers Were Trails
Beth LaPensée reinterprets The Oregon Trail from the perspective of a displaced native man.
Incorporating Tradition
Games can actively further the teachings of indigenous peoples, with great benefits for sustainability.
Redefine Patterns of “Masculinity”
Healthy eco-masculinity can enable people to feel comfortable expressing their concern for the environment without fear of disrespect, isolation, or harm.
Normalize Green Tech
Showing how green tech increases energy security, prevents environmental disasters, and decreases harm to local communities can help players understand why this innovation matters.
Forced Discomfort
Players can be made to confront difficult truths or experience difficult situations by forcing discomfort through audio-visual elements, or social norm violation.
New Goal Orientation
By working towards new, unfamiliar goals, players build empathy, learn, and think critically about solving real world issues.
No-Win Scenarios
When used to consider real world situations, no-win scenarios can force a player to reconsider the validity of a solution they may take for granted.
Conflicting Goals
Conflicting goals force the player to accept limited success, choose a goal to prioritize, or risk failure by riding the fence.
Investment in Specifics
Including specific places or developing named, fleshed-out characters can encourage emotional investment in protecting those places or creatures.
Real World Action
Real World Action Games (RWAGs) require players to take action outside of the game, such as engaging with nature or reducing their carbon footprint.
Locality & Local Knowledge
While limiting in its scalability, local games are highly focused and have shown significant, measurable impact on communities in a variety of contexts.
Collecting Scientific Data
Game designers can gamify the collection of data such as gas levels, electrical consumption, and water quality. 
System Realism
Simulations that directly and accurately reflect a real-world system can build incredibly rich system knowledge.
Slow the Technology Arms Race
Fight device obsolescence, reduce e-waste and prove once and for all that beefier hardware doesn't make for better games.
Reduce Electricity Use at Runtime
Video games use electricity. But how much? Measure and act to drastically reduce your game's direct footprint.
Reduce Your Studio Carbon Footprint
Reduce the carbon emission of each step of the game industry lifecycle, from raw materials extraction to game data storage.
Cleaning Up Your Data Storage Policy
Data storage needs energy: the more data you store, the higher your emissions.
Kind is the new Cool
Kindness can move mountains.
Repair, Re-use, Recycle
In-game economies can be circular economies - build player habits of repair and re-use, and raise the value of junk.
Irresistible Veggies
Cooking systems that dabble in plant-based food can both inspire and teach real recipes.
Optional HD Assets
The highest resolution is not unanimously desired! If you run an older PC, have a slow internet connection, or even […]
Stories from the Frontlines
We can tell the stories of those who live on the front lines of climate change, like in Never Alone […]
Do Good, Feel Good
We can use rewarding and pleasing aesthetics to make the players feel good. In Terra Nil restoring ecosystems happens in […]
A Contemplative Space
Emotional connection is the key to making players want to invest in the real world or reflect on the meaning […]
Solarpunk Games
Some games take place in worlds where humanity has already acted to solve the climate crisis, and it’s possible to […]
Building the Sustainable City
Cities Skyline: Green Cities manages to both Normalize Green Tech and Imagine a Sustainable Future by exposing players to modern […]
A Simpler Life
We can represent happy lives that do not rely on consumerism, to deprogram the toxic dream of buying ever more […]
In Awe of Nature
We can inspire players to Forge Emotional Bonds with Nature by showing it in all its beauty, using the power […]
The Sustainable Living Buffet
The SIMS 4: Eco Lifestyle acts like a tasting platter of individual climate action, where everybody can find little things […]
Community Cleanup Events
Many types of climate action are better tackled collectively, so games could encourage players to connect with other players to […]
Campaign Shout-outs
Players can be encouraged to support or contribute to climate organizations, like NGOs and charities.
Rewarding Real-Life Actions
In contexts where the intrinsic motivation of doing good deeds isn’t enough, we can also add an extrinsic motivation by […]
Building Emotional Resilience
Spiritfarer makes players practice grieving for the loved ones we lost, building their emotional resilience and training them for when […]
Subverting Violence
Games can push players out of their comfort zone and question their assumptions, like Spec Ops: The Line did by […]
Skills We’ll Need
Games can teach new life skills; directly usable in our everyday lives and necessary for a sustainable yet uncertain future.
The Joy of Good Deeds
Games can let players experience the joy of doing good deeds, to encourage them to re-enact them in real life. […]
Give Peace A Chance
To counteract our habits of equating conflicts with violence, games should allow peaceful resolution to conflicts. The Dishonored series does […]
The Limits of Hoarding
Hoarding items is a staple in many videogame genres. In RPG’s in particular, players often build up such vast stashes […]
Virtual Pandemic, Real Insight
Developers can ground games in real Earth science and data, rather than making them purely fictional. Plague Inc. isn’t just […]
Failing Safely
Games can give the opportunity for trial and error in safe environments (Experimentation & Inquiry). In Fate Of The World, […]
Save a Rhino
Honest Power Options
Your “Options” screen is a great opportunity to educate players about the impact that each graphics setting has on power […]
Horizon Zero Dawn
Gibbon: Beyond the Trees
Firewatch
Plasticity
Cities: Skylines – Green Cities
Forza Horizon 3
Stardew Valley
Hungry Shark World
The Sims 4: Eco Lifestyle
Pokémon Go
Earth Rangers
Wholesome: Out and About
Fate of the World
Green Studio Culture
Studio culture is upstream from studio politics! How can you contribute to a more sustainable workplace?
How Many Pixels Do You Need?
Resolution is the best predictor of electricity use. By setting dynamic limits, Fortnite ensured that it never draws a sharper image than the game needs.
Don’t Leave the Engine Running
By simply adjusting image output while players were idling, Fortnite was able to save a whole wind farm's worth of electricity.
Use the Hive Mind
If you are looking for eco-design ideas, code improvements or anything really - ask your colleagues!
The Sims 3
Mass Effect 3
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Suikoden
Battlefield 2042
Untitled Goose Game
Botanicula
Monument Valley 2
Final Fantasy VI
Signs of the Sojourner
Pokémon Sword / Shield
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Anno 1800
Red Dead Redemption
Before We Leave
This game applies an anti-colonialist, environmental lens on the settler genre.
Transformers: Earth War
ArmA 3
Subnautica
Bear & Breakfast
The Outer Worlds
Gris
Overwatch
Overwatch 2
Forza Horizon 4
Hoa
Ghost of Tsushima
Spiritfarer
Spec Ops: The Line
Dishonored
80 Days
Plague Inc.
Subway Surfers
Genshin Impact
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Team Fortress 2
Sky: Children of the Light
Fortnite
Halo Infinite