No matter if you are a gamer or not, video games became essential parts of our culture. Their heroes and their stories are part of our global shared knowledge. It is impossible to guess how big their impact is on us, but no one argues, that it is significant. Yet, most of the popular games aim only to entertain.
Even if there are several less known games that focus on informing and educating people, unfortunately, they do not manage to reach a larger audience. Not to mention, that people who already had an interest in the matter purchase and/or play these games.
Now, I am not a big gamer, but I am lucky enough to live with one, who constantly provides the best ones for me. This is how I came across Horizon Zero Dawn.
Zero Down is a great game to play, and definitely, deserves all the praise it had been receiving recently. What makes it more than that, is that it touches important questions, such as the conflict between capitalism and environmentalism in an exciting and engaging narrative.
Do not expect this game to get deep and accurate information about how climate change works, or what we can do to stop it. This is a more poetic and heroic story. Alloy, the heroine lives in a post-(post-)apocalyptic world that machines took over, while people live in tribal communities with close to no knowledge about the past. During her journey, she discovers the history of her (our?) planet and finds her destiny linked to it.
Throughout the game, we learn how the decisions of some without respect for life, but with a hunger for profit led to the course of events that ended life as we know on the planet. Alloy’s past is our future, therefore, the story is not a direct continuation of our present. This gives liberty for the writers to work more freely with the topic and create a truly captivating fiction.
I don’t know if the game was created with the intention of raising awareness of environmental issues, but it surely does. The game raises questions and brings the topic closer while being abstract enough to focus on the main message and not to get caught up on our formed opinions about the political/ideological situation of nowadays.
Horizon Zero Dawn may not make people change their lifestyle or their choices right away, but it might prepare people to be more receptive for eco-friendly initiatives. Let’s hope that there are more games like this one to come and reach many people with such a positive message.
Her focus is on how personal decisions and behaviours can make a difference. Ildiko is constantly looking for ways to live a more eco-friendly life in our current consumerist society. She is a yoga fan, vegetarian, DIY enthusiast and the mother of a devil-puppy.