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How the gaming industry is celebrating Earth Day 2024

Join us for our yearly Earth Day celebration, where we look at this year’s efforts to help the planet and give back to nature.

earth Day 2024 - art for the Merge Mansion event focused on recycled fashion

It’s that time of year again, when flowers sprout from the earth, and trees grow fresh leaves. It’s also Earth Day, and we’re here to bring a round-up of the goings on in the gaming industry, helping to offset omissions and bring some nature back.

Many studios and developers are implementing events, joining in with campaigns, and finding new ways to make games more environmentally friendly, while lessening the impact they have on our resources. In this feature, we’re going to look at a few key case studies, and some fun extras, with organizations dotted throughout.

First up is Merge Mansion. You’ve heard of it, you’ve probably played it – it’s the gripping match ‘em mobile game by Metacore, featuring celebrities like Pedro Pascal in its advertisements. Well, now, it’s putting its popularity to good use by introducing the Recycle Runway event, on now in the game until April 28.

The event takes place as part of Earth Month where we must be mindful of waste created by fashion – among other things – and that a circular economy is key, including recycling. The aim is to collect used clothing and upcycle your items into new couture that people flock to buy. You, of course, need to build a runway to show off your designs using second-hand items, too.

The Recycle Runway is part of the Green Game Jam 2024, marking the first activation between Metacore and the Jam, with hopefully more to come in the future. Also, did you know that Metacore helped found Pelimetsä, a project from games developers that helps to protect biodiversity across Finland – how lovely is that!

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The Green Game Jam, now back for its fifth year, is organized by Playing for the Planet. This scheme works to create activations with an environmental theme. Since its inception, the Green Game Jam allowed more than two million trees to get planted, while raising more than $700k to go towards conservation.

Next up, we have another smash-hit success – Subway Surfers. It’s the most downloaded game of all time and is now setting its sights on fighting climate change. Sybo Games originally released the game in 2012, and even now, Subway Surfers still gets over 150 million players each month, so the studio is eager to reach them all and spread their message.

This isn’t Sybo’s first foray into using their reach for good. Previously, Subway Surfers has had a ‘Play 2 Plant’ event, where more than 518k trees were planted, and put singer J Balvin into the game, with each purchase going towards offsetting carbon emissions. CEO of Sybo, Mathias Gredal Norvig, takes these matters very seriously. In fact, he authored a book – Gaming For Good – on how the industry as a whole should work toward spreading awareness while combating climate change.

If this has you wanting to play a new mobile game, then let us introduce Bumi, Next Stop Earth by Blamorama. This adorable game is designed for families, especially children, and teaches the important lesson of looking after the environment around you. Blamorama aims to inform younger generations about sustainability, and how they can help, through a fun medium. The game costs just a few dollars, and a portion of each sale goes to organizations located in the region of the purchase.

earth Day 2024 - the teyvat nature discovery tour in London's Westfield shopping center

It’s not just in-game activations this year, either. In March, eager fans (myself included) could visit locations across Europe to get some Genshin Impact merch at the Teyvat Nature Discovery Tour events. Here, amongst pictures of Kaveh in an explorer’s outfit, you could bring plastic bottles to get discount coupons, and judging by the overflowing basket at London Westfield’s event, the message worked wonders. This coincides with a delightful video highlighting epic aspects of nature, which you can watch here.

Some other eco-friendly events taking place are Sustainability Week in Pokémon Go, where you can take part in challenges to catch Trubbish, Binacle, and Drilbur among other carefully selected ‘mons, and Campfire Cat Café’s Earth Day event is giving new outfits, guests, and mini-games in Hyperbeard’s adorable mobile sim game.

earth Day 2024 - Pokemon Go key art showing Foongus, Combee, and Trubbish in a grassy area

Anyway, to liven it up a bit, here are some very interesting facts from Black Salt Games, maker of Dredge, highlighting key facts about the ocean and C02 emissions… And whale poop.

Are we all feeling nice and nature-y and in the mood to look after the planet? Good, then I recommend the following games for you to try on mobile and Switch for some feel-good gardening, and reclaiming space for natural habitats, as well as those we’ve highlighted already.

  • Terra Nil – Switch, iOS, and Android (link to review)
  • Fresh Start: A Cleaning Simulator – Switch
  • Beecarbonize – iOS and Android (link to review)
  • Alba: A Wildlife Adventure – Switch

If you’re looking for even more types of games to crack on with as you bring biomes back from the brink, then here are our picks of the best farm games, ocean games, and gardening games – and the best games to play on Earth Day from last year.