Decarbonise America in the tiny card-based Green New Deal Simulator, out now for free
The spiritual successor to Democratic Socialism Simulator
The Green New Deal Simulator begins with a talking owl. This owl can’t sleep at night, mainly because it’s nocturnal, but also because the planet’s impending environmental doom has affected their shoddy sleep schedule. That’s where the Green New Deal Simulator comes in, a micro deck-builder about transitioning the USA into a post-carbon economy, all while keeping employment rates stable. The results are simultaneously funny, educational, intense, and they help that damn owl get a good night's rest.
The game comes from Paolo “Molleindustria” Pedercini who’s no stranger to pseudo-satirical games about very serious topics. Molleindustria has previously tackled the unethical world of smartphone manufacturing, fake orgasms, and most relevantly, the Democratic Socialism Simulator put us in the shoes of a left-wing government. As you might have noticed from the names, the Green New Deal Sim is a spiritual successor to the Democratic Socialism Sim, sharing a clean user interface and simple drag-and-drop gameplay.
Green New Deal Sim features a simplified map of America that splits the country into regions, all of which hold a pie chart representing the ratio between fossil fuel emissions and clean energy. You need to use your hand of action cards to completely decarbonise the country before 2050 while keeping an eye on your money reserves and employment rates.
Wind farms provide renewable energy, but they’ll also raise unemployment rates in nearby regions. Meanwhile, a high-speed rail can help spread that jobless population over to other regions. Essentially, the game’s main appeal is in simplifying big ideas and/or problems into small moments. The game gives you some actionable cards, untangles their pros and cons, and in the process makes an overwhelming topic more approachable.
“We need culture that raises awareness of the solutions,” Molleindustria writes in their blog post. “I felt the need to tackle climate change as something that has to be done right here, right now, and without the need for entirely new political and economic structures.” It continues: “There is a chance we won’t bring down capitalism in the next 20 years or so, and that’s the timeframe we have to avoid irreversible environmental damage.
Chasing a post-carbon future is a real tug of war between budget, a dwindling clock, and people’s livelihoods. And it’s a fun lesson, gamifying something so serious for 30-40 minute runs. You can play it for free on Steam, Itch.io, or mobile.