“Maybe one way to get people thinking more pro-actively – and more hopefully – about climate change, is to make it fun. Here’s the story of FutureCoast, a game about climate change, with environmental scientist Stephanie Pfirman.” – Anne Strainchamps, To The Best Of Our Knowledge / WPR
“Through utilizing public space and recruiting teams of creative people from mural artists and graphic designers to writers and set designers, [transmedia and alternate reality] forms of art are able to appeal to the public in an aesthetic and totally immersive manner. One step beyond admiring art: Transmedia Storytelling and ARGs let you become a part of the art yourself.” – Molly Ebner, Do Art Foundation
ERIC: “That’s how Kate de Longpre’ got hooked. She hadn’t really thought much about climate change. On a cold February night she took the subway to Brooklyn, looking for a chronofall.” KATE: “I started looking, but because it had freshly snowed, it was really really difficult to find… Just when we were about to give up, we went to throw something away, and it was on top of the garbage can!” ERIC: “When she found the chronofact, she unlocked a new voicemail at future coast dot org: ‘…this educational and fun experience on the world’s first replica glacier lets you have fun in the snow!‘ This inspired Kate to create her own voicemail leaked out of the future.” – Eric Molinsky, WNYC
“While the voice mails tackle climate change in different ways, few, if any, are politicized. Ken Eklund, the veteran designer behind FutureCoast and the popular alternate reality game World Without Oil, said using a fictional narrative to tackle a difficult issue encourages people to suspend judgment. ‘We have been made accustomed to the idea that essentially it’s climate change science versus climate change deniers and that is the conversation,’ he said. ‘What I think FutureCoast is really discovering is that if you go to the people, the conversation is not polarized. It’s really one where a different set of questions emerge about how to adapt.'” – Julia Pyper
“After the overwhelming success of World Without Oil, Eklund was approached by Dr. Stephanie Pfirman, co-chair of the Environmental Science Department at Barnard University, to build a new game, this time focusing on the humanity behind climate change. He worked with a large team to make it happen and couldn’t be happier with the results: ‘If you make a game about something that matters, your “players” will want to participate in that larger discussion. If you genuinely make that participation meaningful in the game, it can also be meaningful in real life.’” – Beckett Mufson
“And yet, most [voicemail] messages aren’t even that apocalyptic. Instead, they leave an impression of a future in which climate change simply becomes a facet of reality, experienced in both subtle and dramatic ways. In the future, like in the present, humans have the choice to accept their situations, or struggle and try to change them.” – Sydney Brownstone
“The overarching story of the game is simple: Mysterious objects known as ‘chronofacts’ have begun appearing throughout the world. Once decoded — which a grassroots organization luckily takes care of for us — they’re revealed to be voicemail leaks from the future, and not necessarily from the same one. And that’s, well, that’s pretty much it as far as the plot goes.
“But while the story is simplistic, the project is anything but. More than simply a collection of possible “what-ifs,” the true goal is figuring out how to use storytelling to persuade.” – Rick Paulas
“How do these works of fiction help us understand the real dangers of climate change? Stephanie Pfirman, co-chair of the Environmental Science department at Barnard University: “Stories help in making connections, breaking down disciplinary boundaries and linking larger scale events with personal consequences.” She notes that the gamification of climate change can bring a deeper understanding of climate change to the public. “Scientists are increasingly using scenarios and storylines as ways to explore the implications of both environmental changes and societal choices.” – Darrell Owens, Youth Radio Investigates
“In these voicemails, people express their views and share the elements that make the threat of climate change relevant to them. They mix in a collaborative space where different ideas about climate-changed futures exist together and learn from each other. It often is a surprisingly cathartic “futurethinking” experience.” – Ken Eklund
“There’s a lot we don’t know about our possible futures, but one thing we do: it’s got a software glitch in it, in the voicemail system, which is sending their voicemails back to our time. As these futurismo objects we call chronofacts. Huh. Weird.
“So we Coasters are trying to get these voicemails found and decoded, and to get people to listen to them… As many as we can, before this Chronofall ends (late April 2014).”