Do you work on games and want to get involved in climate action? Join the Game Dev Rebellion!

By Joost Vervoort — Anticiplay Project Lead

3 min readMar 9, 2023

Dr. Joost Vervoort is an Associate Professor of Transformative Imagination at Utrecht University. His work focuses on connecting games and creative practices, politics and action to create better futures. Email: Twitter: @Vervoort_Joost

Article in the Guardian about pension fund ABP deciding to sell its fossil fuel investments. Activist pressure played an important role.

A little more than a month ago I wrote this blog sharing my observations while supporting the blockade of the A12 highway in The Hague, Netherlands. In this blog, I proposed that we start a Game Dev Rebellion — an international action group much like others such as the Scientist Rebellion that are aligned with Extinction Rebellion and similar climate activist networks. I proposed that climate activism needs imaginative, creative people such as those who work on games. However, I offered another reason:

‘When game designers are deeply entangled with and committed to the realities of activism, we are developing experiential and embodied understandings of what it means to fight for the planet. Our goals shift, we become more committed. We meet new people and become part of activist communities. We make different games. And we weave the resonant experiences and salient details about activism into those games — making those realities more accessible.’

After I proposed this idea, I’ve received many responses from people who have said they agree that a Game Dev Rebellion is urgently needed and that they would like to join. So cool.

One excellent conversation I’ve had about this has been with Jennifer Estaris, game director at ustwo games (working on the new Monument Valley!) and committed climate activist. Jennifer has written and spoken about the need to connect games and climate activism and both of us are keen to take the idea forward. We have also discussed this idea with the good folks at the IGDA Climate SIG — the world’s foremost community of game devs, researchers and so on who focus on climate. They have been very supportive of it as well. Finally, I have spoken with the Dutch branches of Extinction Rebellion and Friends of the Earth (Fossielvrij) who are also very happy with our plans.

Who is this for? Anyone involved with games. So, game developers, but also journalists, students, researchers, streamers, funders, and publishers.

What do we propose, concretely? The first step is to connect. We are organizing in two places right now — a Discord channel in the IGDA Climate SIG Discord; and a Signal chat. If you would like to join either of these spaces, send me a message.

The International Game Developers Association’s Special Interest Group on Climate is a global community of game developers, researchers and others interested in mobilizing games for climate action.

We want to facilitate people in organizing to go to real life climate actions locally, and contribute to on-line actions. Two examples are the next A12 blockade in the Hague on March 11th; and London protests on April 21st to 24th. We want to provide resources and connections to wider climate movements. We also want to consider how the Game Dev Rebellion can organize climate action in ways that are unique to our world. We want people to benefit from connecting to others with like-minded ideals. And we are curious to explore how this involvement in climate action can spill back into our activities around games — development, journalism, and more.

We would like to ask you to get involved now and help us think and organize! Don’t feel like you immediately have to do a thousand things. Just listening in is ok. In my experience, just reaching out is often the beginning of an inspiring journey. See you soon in one of our organizing spaces! You can reach me via e-mail, twitter or linkedin.

Anticiplay is an NWO Vidi-funded research project that aims to establish a new design paradigm for the gaming sector in collaboration with CreaTures EU. You can find our mission statement here! In short: we’re all about Games For Better Futures and Futures for Better Games. Follow us @anticiplay on Twitter, and feel free to engage us with any questions, games that you think are inspiring, and anything else!




An NWO Vidi research project • Exploring how games can help imagine & realize sustainable futures • Games For Better Futures & Futures For Better Games 🎮