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Climate change computer game released by Oxford company
Fate of the World logo
In 'Fate of the World' gamers can either save the Earth or destroy it

An Oxfordshire company is challenging people to save the planet from climate change through a computer game.

The games developer Red Redemption has created 'Fate of the World' which puts the Earth's future in players' hands.

Gobion Rowlands, the company's founder, said: "We're getting an amazing reaction for the game.

"There's worldwide attention. Everything we do is for a global audience but we're most at home in Oxford.

"Oxford is core to everything we do and the university has been amazingly supportive."

Series of missions

Godian Rowlands
Gobion Rowlands is the chairman of Oxford-based Red Redemption

In 'Fate of the World' the player must find a way to protect Earth's dwindling resources and climate over a period of 200 years.

As head of the Global Environment Organisation the gamer must find ways to meet the needs of an increasing population and complete a series of missions to save the human race.

"It's a follow up to a game we did in 2007 called Climate Challenge. We found that 9 out of 10 players first time through caused maximum destruction!

"They wanted to see how bad things could get, to have some fun and check we didn't have a political axe to grind... and we don't.

"We just want to get the information out there and create a good compelling Sim City-style computer game."

Gobion Rowlands was working on regular computer games when he met Oxford University's Climate Scientist Dr Myles Allen through a mutual connection.

"The entire lineage of the game is in Oxford," Mr Rowlands said. "Oxford has been the hub of this.

"Dr Myles Allen challenged us to make a game about climate change and it just started rolling from there.

"He provided a model that we use in the game. We tried to feed that in with science coming from one direction and game play coming from the other, bringing it together into a fun and sometimes slightly unnerving games package."

Fate of the World
Players meet the needs of a population demanding food, power and space

'Real debate'

Mr Rowlands continued: "We get positive reactions but also extreme negative reactions from occasional people with the desire for us to meet an unfortunate end!

"If they played the game they'd see we're not trying to push any particular agenda."

Dr Myles Allen said of the game: "For far too long, climate policy has been developed by unelected technocrats in smoke-free conference centres or through talk-show sound-bites.

"The public, confronted by some people telling them it is the end of the world, and others telling them it is all a tax-raising scam, is being completely excluded from the real debate on what to do about it.

"What I like about this game is that it allows people to experience, in an idealised world, of course, the kinds of decisions we are likely to confront and makes it clear there are no easy answers."

'Fate of the World' is aimed at gamers aged between 20 and 45.

"The average age is about 35 and there are slightly more female players than male," Mr Rowlands said.

"We're the first country in the world that has slightly more female games players than male."

The final version of the game will be released in March 2011 and Red Redemption are expecting it to be a success.

"We had a million people play our first game in a matter of weeks," Mr Rowlands said.

"It was really rewarding to put this data in front of people and give them the power rather than have them preached at."




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