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Solarpunk and cozy games: building a better world

illustration
Solarpunk et cozy games : construire un monde meilleur
Image Written by Clélie Amiot on 05/30/2024

PhD student in computer science - Lead Game Designer
Clélie is currently working on her thesis on chatbots. She is in charge of the GameDesign of VirtualSociety

Solarpunk and cozy games: building a better world

In recent years, many artistic fields, including video games, have embraced the solarpunk trend. Whether it's about aesthetics or ecology, these themes are important to us, and we have often (and for a long time) discussed them within our team. Today, we would like to share our feelings and analyses with you, and invite you to join the discussion!

But what is solarpunk exactly?

Solarpunk is a movement aimed at envisioning a hopeful future where our society exists in harmony with our environment. The movement focuses primarily on ecology and sustainable development, without ignoring economic and social inequality issues.

It's a relatively young movement, emerging about a decade ago in response to the pervasive depictions of our future as a dystopia or a post-apocalyptic world. Instead, solarpunk aims to present an alternative, more optimistic vision to encourage action rather than resignation and apathy: a world where mutual aid has replaced exploitation.

Is it an aesthetic movement or a form of activism?

The solarpunk movement has two facets. For many, it's a futuristic aesthetic that highlights the use of renewable energy such as wind turbines and solar panels, vast blue skies without pollution, and green cities harmoniously integrating sustainable mobility and public spaces. You can see a beautiful example of this aesthetic by our graphic designer Chloé in the article's illustration. Sources of inspiration include Art Nouveau and Afrofuturist architectural styles as well as Studio Ghibli films, particularly “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.”

However, if you are interested in this movement beyond concept art and works of fiction, you will find numerous resources and guides encouraging immediate action to better manage the resources at our disposal and build a community. Key actions in solarpunk activism include:

  • Cultivating an urban garden
  • Adopting a less polluting means of transport
  • Engaging in your community and maintaining a network of mutual aid
  • Protecting biodiversity
  • Consuming and buying sustainably (especially textiles and food)

So, how are the aesthetic and activist facets of the movement supposed to combine? The answer: the aesthetic is the guiding line and motivation for present-day activism, thus encouraging the transformation of solarpunk hopes for the future into concrete and immediate actions.

And what about video games?

Solarpunk is a well-suited and promising genre for video games, especially cozy games. Indeed, cozy games favor sustainable and renewable farming mechanics, as well as taking care of the planet and community, avoiding combat and exploitation. Moreover, the visually pleasing solarpunk aesthetic perfectly aligns with the soothing atmosphere of cozy games.

However, although there are now several solarpunk books, this is not yet the case for video games. Notable examples include the strategy game Terra Nil, which is solarpunk in both its aesthetic and gameplay mechanics, with the objective of revitalizing an ecosystem. New solarpunk games like Loftia and the eponymous Solarpunk are also highly anticipated.

To create a solarpunk game, the emphasis is on promoting non-destructive interactions with the environment, encouraging players to seek a sustainable balance rather than depleting available resources. As a studio, it is also essential to be aware of our environmental footprint and adopt sustainable practices to contribute to the preservation of our planet.

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Image Written by Clélie Amiot on 05/30/2024

PhD student in computer science - Lead Game Designer
Clélie is currently working on her thesis on chatbots. She is in charge of the GameDesign of VirtualSociety

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