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Down to Earth: Interactive app blends science and play

12.02.2015 Earth: A Primer : Mobile Gaming : Whole-chain Thinking
Earth: A Primer App, California

Berkeley, California – Game designer Chaim Gingold has released Earth: A Primer, an iPad app that explores interconnected systems on Earth with an emphasis on play.

Users of the app can create islands using lava, mould terrain to change climate, and carve out mountains and valleys with flowing ice. ‘It’s about being able to play with a rich model, almost as if you’re in a pile of sand or splashing around in water,’ says Gingold. ‘It’s this richly interactive simulation that brings the world of Earth science to life in a tangible way.’

This emphasis on play is a legacy of Gingold’s work on the 2008 fantasy game Spore and it sets Earth: A Primer apart from more didactic attempts to teach science using interactive multimedia. Touch and feel are as important as scientific accuracy.

The game places the user in an omnipotent position, controlling climate systems and terrain from above, which reflects emerging views of human influence on the climate. ‘It’s not about anthropogenic change, but about getting you comfortable with the idea that you can melt a glacier with your hands,’ says Gingold. ‘It’s putting you in the role of agent, so I think there is this meta-level sort of message.’

For more on why consumers are thinking in terms of larger planetary systems, book a ticket to our Spring/Summer 2015 Trend Briefing, on 12 March 2015.