Alenda Chang

Title: Can Video Games Save the Planet?

Abstract: Often dismissed as time wasters or bad role models, computer and video games seem especially remote from the pressing environmental issues of our age, including global climate change, biodiversity loss, and conflicts over energy production. Some games, however, are potentially exciting opportunities for representing and responding to these complex ecological problems. At their best, games promise to meld the expanding power of the computer with the aesthetic range of literature, cinema, and other arts. Even more importantly, games can render environmental outcomes and ethics into powerfully playable scenarios.

Bio: Alenda Chang is an Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research and teaching range widely across film, digital media, science and technology studies, and sound studies, with particular interests in environmental media and game studies. Her forthcoming book Playing Nature: The Ecology of Video Games (University of Minnesota Press) proposes new methods and objects for ecologically informed critique and design.