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Video Games for Environmental Communication: Raising Awareness through Sandbox Games and Streamers

newdigital Video Games for Environmental Communication: Raising Awareness through Sandbox Games and Streamers
Article
journal COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI
section Open Access
title Video Games for Environmental Communication: Raising Awareness through Sandbox Games and Streamers
author
publisher Vita e Pensiero
format Article | Pdf
online since 01-2021
doi 10.26350/001200_000103
issn 03928667 (print) | 18277969 (digital)
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Video games have come to play a significant role in the media habits of various generational cohorts, but particularly of the younger ones. Because of this, serious games have emerged in the past two decades as a viable way to sensitize to sociopolitical issues and today they’re employed also for sensitizing about environmental issues. This research examines the “To The Last Tree Standing” (“Ostatnie drzewo”) campaign carried out in 2017 by advertising agency Ogilvy Poland for Greenpeace to stop the deforestation of the Białowieża forest. To generate awareness among younger segments of the audience, the campaign leveraged the popularity of the sandbox video game Minecraft, within which a 1:1 digital copy of the forest was developed, and of famous Polish videogame “streamers” (i.e. people broadcasting their gameplay sessions). Methodologically, the research relied on interviews to executives and designers (n=4), as well as content analysis of the campaign and related discourses in Polish media (n=19). The findings suggest that a) sandbox games can generate innovative storytelling practices overcoming the political polarization of environmental communication; b) sandbox games as Minecraft, thanks to the high degree of manipulation of its worlds and the freedom of creation it allows, represent a salient framework for the meaning-making of ecological facts; c) streamers represent an “educational leverage” for the development of ecological attitudes. This evidence highlights new development trajectories for the study of environmental communication.

keywords

Video games; streamers; awareness; sandbox games; environmental communication

Author biography

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan ‒ gaia.amadori@unicatt.it

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Anno: 2020 - n. 3

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