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Old 03-03-2011, 05:16 AM   #1
vonklaude
 
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Are we making fun of climate change?

So just interviewed on BBC World Service and they asked that question. Are we making light of climate change? I took the question kind of the wrong way. Of course we're making fun of climate change - that's the point right?!

Stupidly, I thought it was a more general question: is it making fun of climate change to treat it in a computer game? I don't think so. What do you think?
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:54 AM   #2
Hentzau
 
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My views on the game design and feedback aside, there are as you've said two ways to parse that question:

1) Is it okay to make fun out of climate change? The answer to that would be that it's not just okay, it's actually necessary if you want to communicate those issues to a new audience. If they're pitched right, games can be very effective educational tools because the education is very subtle - the player will educate themselves in the process of learning how the game works without ever perceiving it as such. The Civilization series is probably the prime example of this, and Fate of the World works the same way; I certainly wasn't aware of things like shale gas and tar sands before I played it.

2) Is it okay to make light of climate change? My personal view would be that it's okay to make light of anything so long as the humour has a point and isn't just going for cheap laughs, but I actually don't understand why this would be a question since while Fate has a wry sense of humour running through it it's certainly not treating climate change as a trivial matter. You're going to have to chalk that one up to an idiot interviewer who'd only read a paragraph of blumpf about who you were and what the game was about five minutes before he interviewed you.
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:24 AM   #3
SixString
 
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I have a hard time understanding where the question is coming from. If you think a challenge that makes you think hard is fun then yeah, then this game makes climate change fun. In the sense of "making fun" of climate change I'm not sure where that was seen in the game, if the interviewer played it at all.

Is it "making fun" of climate change when there is far less oil produced than is needed, triggering a global financial crisis and mass starvation? The fun is running face first into that brick wall on your first go without even seeing it coming, and then trying to figure out how to prevent it.
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:25 AM   #4
J.Swithers
 
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Computer games = Dumb time-wasting diversions for adolescent boys.
Climate change should only be considered by scientists, politicians and academics and elucidated through the respectable mediums of literature and documentary films! No one ever learnt anything from a computer game.

Or; Al Gore would take weeks to 'explain' what this game has demonstrated to me in a matter of hours (many hours, okay, days).
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:01 AM   #5
khan
 
 
 
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I can't understand what the interviewer is trying to get at either. Is he saying that if there is to be a game about climate change, that game should be boring? If so, then I'm happy we got Fate of the World instead

On a more serious note, I hope what's behind that question isn't some stone-age mentality where 'fun' and 'learning' are to be kept strictly apart. I think we're lucky to be living in an age where people know that learning can be fun, and fun can encourage learning.
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hentzau View Post
My views on the game design and feedback aside, there are as you've said two ways to parse that question:

1) Is it okay to make fun out of climate change? The answer to that would be that it's not just okay, it's actually necessary if you want to communicate those issues to a new audience. If they're pitched right, games can be very effective educational tools because the education is very subtle - the player will educate themselves in the process of learning how the game works without ever perceiving it as such. The Civilization series is probably the prime example of this, and Fate of the World works the same way; I certainly wasn't aware of things like shale gas and tar sands before I played it.

2) Is it okay to make light of climate change? My personal view would be that it's okay to make light of anything so long as the humour has a point and isn't just going for cheap laughs, but I actually don't understand why this would be a question since while Fate has a wry sense of humour running through it it's certainly not treating climate change as a trivial matter. You're going to have to chalk that one up to an idiot interviewer who'd only read a paragraph of blumpf about who you were and what the game was about five minutes before he interviewed you.
Enjoy your first rep.
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:40 AM   #7
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No more than the BBC were making fun of road safety with their old Adam Ant and the Green Cross Code public service films :P

I suppose it's only fun if you come in with a preconception of what games are. I wouldn't say the game is fun in the sense they seem to indicate there of "light hearted entertainment". It's engaging entertainment. It's like a documentary on the Holocaust; it can be entertaining and enjoyable to watch, but it's not fun in any sense of the word.
Of course there's always the question of whether such things should be turned into entertainment in the first place, but I reckon the BBC are capable of answering that one themselves.

Personally I wholeheartedly support it. As with any message, the more media it's in the greater the population it can reach. I also think one of the strong points about simulation games like these is they tend to be apolitical. Look at any other medium and the climate change / global warming debate is full of various agenda's and politics, so often the message can get lost under a mountain of petty bickering. With this game however you can say here's the climate model, play around and formulate your own opinion.
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:45 AM   #8
Archonsod
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khan View Post
On a more serious note, I hope what's behind that question isn't some stone-age mentality where 'fun' and 'learning' are to be kept strictly apart. I think we're lucky to be living in an age where people know that learning can be fun, and fun can encourage learning.
Nah. The BBC has a mandate for unbiased reporting, which forces their journalists to try and give all sides of an argument. This in itself wouldn't be so bad, except that it requires the journalist attempt to put themselves in the shoes of their hypothetical audience, and most BBC reporters are slightly less out of touch with mainstream society than the average politician.

In fact it's a wonder they didn't enquire which particular Babbage engine the game was designed to compute on.
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Old 03-03-2011, 01:18 PM   #9
Hupailija
 
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Fun of climate change? Well thats interesting, thats like saying that Civilization makes joke of entire human culture and how it developed. Or that Europe Universalis makes joke of how foreign politics did work in Europe.

If something this game has anything but funny (although the more I read those lua files the more I start to see that it's just one sided and pessimistic) image of what climate change will do and how it will affect to us. If something I'm starting to wonder how easy it is to make fun mod to this game where idea isn't to fight against something real.
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Old 03-03-2011, 01:52 PM   #10
RRSmileyMan
 
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Reverse the question - how well has the "Oh noes we are all going to die!" message been convincing the wider public of the need for action?

Chess teaches forward planning. Monopoly teaches the misery of unrestrained capitalism. SimCity is pretty good at teaching the issues of urban planning. Rollercoast Tycoon is used by real theme park designers to test new models.

Games can teach and be useful. In three days with this game I've probably trebled my knowledge on climate change, and in particular the need to act fast.
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Old 03-03-2011, 04:03 PM   #11
Viedrick
 
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There isn't any such thing as climate change that is being caused or can be solved by humans, its been proven that the earth has gone through changes like this over the millions of years its been around before us. Warm, cold, warm, cold... The media is blowing the whole climate change thing out of proportion.
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:06 PM   #12
Stealth107
 
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Fate of the World is fun out of climate change, but its not making fun of climate change. People play it because its fun, then realise that by playing it they've learnt something - Namely, how much its going to take to save this planet.
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:16 PM   #13
coroxion
 
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If the question is are we making fun of climate change as in not taking it seriously, then no. I haven't played the game yet, (Saw the trailer on Steam's front page, decided to buy) but it seems to take the issues quite seriously. Dare I say trying it's trying to invoke change? The price alone shows that it wants to spread its message, and I guess I'm proof it's working.
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:31 PM   #14
Kamisof
 
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ok theres 2 definitions of "making fun of" something
1) making something enjoyable
2) ridiculing it.

so the correct answer would be, in my opinion, "yes were making climate change, or rather, understanding climate change, enjoyable. but no, were not ridiculing it, were showing the serious consequences as realistically as possible".

for me personaly the jury is still out on whether mans actions are creating climate change. as another poster said the earth went thru many climate changes, in both directions, long before man arrived on the scene. however pollution, destruction of the environment, extinction of many species of life... these are undeniably occurring and are also addressed in the game i think#, and are in themselves good enough reasons for us to need to change our treatment of the planet.

Edit:
# "i think" because ive only just bought the game and came here to learn more about it. ive played a couple of hours only.

Last edited by Kamisof: 03-03-2011 at 05:36 PM. Reason: clarification
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