Eco Games: Saving the world with games, is that possible?
Screenshot of the computer game "ECO"; A deer looks at a city that will soon be hit by a meteorite.
The creators of the psychology podcast »Behind the Screens« in conversation with Dominik Rinnhofer
Thu, July 29, 2021 7 pm – 8 pm CEST, Talk
Language: German

The online conversation will be shown via the ZKM Livestream.

If we look at computer games against the background of how and whether they convey ecological issues, a number of questions quickly arise: How effective can games be in the first place? Can games change people's behavior for the better? Or, in short: Can games save the world?

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The three psychologists Jessica Kathmann, Benjamin Strobel and  Nicolas Hoberg have been running the podcast »Behind the Screens« since November 8, 2017, in which they explore and discuss different topics in games from a psychological perspective.

Dominik Rinnhofer – curator of the section »Eco Games« in the exhibition »zkm_gameplay. the next level« – poses the following questions for discussion:

How effective can games be – which behaviours can be changed with the help of games and how does that work?
What are the opportunities and dangers of games as a medium and propaganda tool?
Can climate change be stopped with games?
Does this work »only« with digital games or also with analogue ones?

Eco Games

The section »In the Spotlight« of the exhibition »zkm_gameplay. the next level«, picks up on current discussions on the topic of computer games. From July 28, 2021, under the title "Eco Games", computer games will be presented here that focus on ecological questions: How can we prevent our environment from being destroyed and the planet from becoming uninhabitable? »zkm_gameplay. the next level« thus ties in with the content currently also being discussed in the ZKM exhibition »Critical Zones. Observatories for Earthly Politics «.

»Eco Games« are set in worlds in which the destruction or preservation of the environment is addressed and the course of the game itself requires sustainability-oriented action. Curated by Dominik Rinnhofer, Professor of Game Design at the Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, Stuttgart, the section includes seven games from the years 1990 to 2020.

The hope of the game developers is that the immersive and interactive character of the computer game medium will raise awareness of ecological issues – potentially bringing about long-term changes in behaviour. With the genre of dystopian and posthuman games, scenarios can be experienced that show the effects of human-made catastrophes and address their prevention. In the spirit of "Play it - before you (have to) live it".


Prof. Dominik Rinnhofer, Professor of Game Design, Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, Stuttgart
Dr. Benjamin Strobel, psychologist, creator of the podcast »Behind the Screens«
Dipl.-Psych. Nicolas Hoberg, psychologist, creator of podcast »Behind the Screens«
Jessica Kathmann (M.Sc.), psychologist, creator of the podcast»Behind the Screens«


The psychologists Dr. Benjamin Strobel, Nicolas Hoberg and Jessica Kathmann are behind the screens. In addition to psychology, they share a lifelong interest in digital games. With »Behind the Screens«, they bring their passions together and look at video games from the perspective of psychology.


The game platform at the ZKM. Discover the new area »level 5: Eco Games«!

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