Video games tackle climate change

Video games tackle climate change

April 15, 20242 min read

The University of Delaware recently hosted a Climate Change Video Game Jam for students that paired the ingenuity of designing a video game with activism and the use of research to address one of the world's biggest problems.

The national video game design competition was the brainchild of A.R. Siders, director of the UD's Mangone Climate Change Science and Policy Hub and core faculty in the Disaster Research Center.

Participants representing five universities — UD, the University of California - Irvine, Ohio University, the University of Southern California and Irvine Valley College — competed in the event at UD's Esports Arena.

Eight games were submitted and ran the gamut in their design, gameplay and visual effects. They ranged from a game focused on sustainable fishing, an ocean pollution clean-up, pirates cleaning oil spills, a mermaid helping her sea creature friends and a professor collecting magical stones to address storms and sea level rise.

Four games included original artwork — both hand-drawn pixel art and 3-D models — and original sound effects and music. One had voice acting by the lead developer because the team “wanted to center her voice” in the game both figuratively and literally. The students behind the latter walked away victorious.

As a self-proclaimed “climate geek” and long-time gamer, the idea for such an event was a natural way for Siders to marry two of her passions while actively engaging UD’s student body in addressing environmental issues.

“The Jam is a great opportunity to bring people together from totally different perspectives who are all excited about the connections across these themes,” Siders said. “Facts and charts don’t move people. They don’t inspire action or instigate change, but video games can change how people think about climate change.”

Siders also hopes that the game jam helps put UD on the map as a place that does cross-disciplinary climate work.

“We have excellent expertise in game design, climatology, engineering, ocean science, and environmental humanities,” Siders said. “But our real strength is our ability to put those together creatively.”

Members of the media who would like to interview Siders about the Climate Change Video Game Jam or other related topics can visit her profile and click "connect" or send an email to

Connect with:
  • A.R. Siders
    A.R. Siders Director, Climate Change Science & Policy Hub | Core Faculty, Disaster Research Center | Associate Professor, Biden School of Public Policy and Administration & Department of Geography & Spatial Sciences

    Prof. Siders' research focuses on climate change adaptation policies with an emphasis on relocation and fairness in adaptation.

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