Earth Day, the day celebrating movements to protect the environment, is right around the corner.
This year, Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22.
Many people celebrate Earth Day by participating in volunteer efforts or by pushing environmentally-friendly initiatives. But, this day can also be an opportunity to celebrate art people have created to educate about and honor our planet, as well as the cultures that inhabit it.
Here are a few games to check out and play this Earth Day:
Image courtesy of Rose City Games
It should be no surprise this game is on my list. After all, my first article was about the game and its theme of climate resilience.
Garden Story is an Action-RPG developed by Picogram and published by Rose City Games in August 2021. In this game, you play as Concord, a young grape who works to protect its home, The Grove, from the invasive Rot.
But Concord doesn’t have to do this alone. In fact, community involvement is a large part of Garden Story’s narrative, and is vital to climate resilience.
Image courtesy of APICO Steam Page
The Steam store page describes exactly what this game is about, “Bees are integral to our gameplay, as they are to our real-world ecosystem.”
APICO is a beekeeping-simulator game developed by TNgineers that mixes real-life and fantastical elements to educate and promote the conservation of native bee species. You gather resources, play mini-games and breed your bees to make honey and repopulate the APICO islands.
Beyond educating the player about beekeeping, a portion of the cost is given to national and international bee-related charities.
APICO can be played single-player or online multiplayer with up to four players.
Image courtesy of WATER 2050 Steam Page
Made by Totem Games and developed in association with the Water Environment Federation, Water 2050 seeks to educate players about the impact we can have on clean water access in the future.
Water 2050 is a city-simulator game in which the player takes on the role of the mayor of the last inhabitable city on Earth. Using the ability to time travel to the past, the player navigates water usage, natural calamities, and sometimes difficult choices to try and make a better future for Earth and its inhabitants.
ENDLING - EXTINCTION IS FOREVER
Image courtesy of Endling – Extinction is Forever Steam Page
Developed by Herobeat Studios, Endling – Extinction is Forever lets players see the potential destruction of the environment through the eyes of animals.
In Endling – Extinction is Forever, the player takes on the role of the last mother fox on Earth. The player must protect their cubs from natural and human-made threats while navigating environments inspired by current issues.
Image courtesy of Tunche Steam Page
While the games on the top of this list focused on educating the player, Tunche is a celebration of the Amazon Rainforest and its stories and culture.
Tunche is a 2D beat-em-up game made by Peruvian game studio LEAP Game Studios. You play as one of five characters on a quest to drive away an evil power known as Tunche. With monsters based on Amazonian animals and bits of Peruvian mythology woven into the narrative, Tunche masterfully balances fantasy elements with the beauty of Peruvian culture.
Tunche can be played single-player or multiplayer up to four players.
SPIRIT OF THE NORTH
Image courtesy of Infuse Games
The beauty of Iceland inspires the landscapes of this game, which has a narrative interwoven with Nordic folklore.
Spirit of the North, a 3rd-person adventure game developed by Infuse Studio, follows the journey of a red fox whose life becomes entangled with a magical fox who is the guardian of the Northern Lights. While there is no dialogue or narration in this game, this only serves to highlight the scenery and imagery which inspired the game.
MIRAGES OF WINTER
Image courtesy of Mirages of Winter Steam Page
This game, the first in a planned four-part series celebrating the changing of seasons, is an ode to the journey of spring.
Mirages of Winter is a soothing puzzle game developed by Mirari Games. In this game, relaxing puzzles pair with beautiful art to honor the birth of spring. It celebrates the way the world around us is never stagnant, but instead constantly moves in a cycle of growth.
In Mirages of Winter, beauty doesn’t just come with the flowers of spring, but the journey nature takes to get there.
NEVER ALONE (Kisima Ingitchuna)
Image courtesy of Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) Steam Page
Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) is drawn from a traditional story of the Iñupiat, but this game is more than just inspired by the story.
Developed by E-Line Games, Never Alone is a puzzle platformer created in collaboration with nearly 40 members of the Alaska Native community, including elders and storytellers. Their stories and wisdom are woven through the story of a young girl and her pet fox searching for the source of an eternal blizzard.
E-Line Games also embraces this storytelling method with Beyond Blue, an adventure game which follows an ocean research team and was made in collaboration with leading ocean experts.
Never Alone can be played single-player or local co-op.
If you still want more games to check out this Earth Day, the Climate Game Jam had 23 climate-themed submissions in 2022, and most of them are still free-to-play.
Video games are a powerful medium to showcase the stories of our planet and the cultures within it. This Earth Day, between volunteer work and activism, be sure to take a moment to learn more about the world you’re trying to protect, and listen to the stories of those already affected by changes in our climate and environment.