Environmental ethics in video games: How video games Equilinox and Everything embody the transition from an anthropocentric to an ecological worldview
As, Jop van
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The climate crisis is an increasing problem, and in 2021 the Dutch government promised 35 billion euros over the next ten years to fight it. To, at least partly, solve the climate crisis, scholars argue that humans need to abandon an anthropocentric worldview where humans dominate the natural world. A good place to make people adopt, or at least make them think about, new ways of seeing the relationship between humans and non-humans is through mainstream media since it is the primary site for constructing meanings about the environment. A medium that could especially help the rhetoric of green media is that of video games. Video games can contribute to an understanding of and instruction in ecological issues and in shaping environmental or ecological awareness as they are active (the player must actively do things) and interactive (once the player has made choices, the game is now developed in a way that sets certain parameters that affect future gameplay). In this thesis the games Equilinox and Everything are analysed to understand how they represent the transition from an anthropocentric to an ecological worldview. Using utilitarian environmental ethics and deep ecology and Flanagan and Nissenbaum’s model for values in games the two games were systematically researched. This thesis found that the transition from anthropocentric to ecological is not a monotonous transition, but that it can be represented in different ways. Resulting from this research are two of those forms, an active way where players create nature to understand the interconnectedness of different species and their environment, and a passive way where players explore nature to understand the interconnectedness. Concludingly, one cannot speak of the transition from anthropocentric to ecological since this transition can take different shapes or forms.