Student games were to address the topic of climate change through a systems perspective. They were allowed to choose their topic, their purpose, the form of the game, and their audience. The student games below were taken from two eighth grade classes, about 22 students each, participated in the curriculum for approximately 20 hours over five weeks. In pairs, they spent about 11 of those hours programming the games.
To design their educational games about climate change, students applied the theory of triadic game design (Harteveld, 2011), addressing three dimensions of every serious game: Reality (topic), Meaning (purpose), and Play (genre). The most common reality represented in students’ games were about the atmospheric systems. More specifically, games were about reducing man-made greenhouse gases. The majority of the meaning, or purposes of their games were to persuade the player to challenge the beliefs or assumptions they might have about climate change. Another common meaning of the games was to change players’ own behavior, encouraging more ecologically responsible behaviors for a player to adopt in real life. In regard to play, students’ games varied from pinball (points scored by a player manipulating a ball) to point-and-click (player moves pointer to certain location, and then presses a button for certain action to occur). There were also multiple choice quiz games.