Winners of the third Green Game Jam Awards were unveiled on Thursday 30 June 2022 with studios including Supercell’s Hay Day, Ubisoft’s Rider’s Republic and Tilting Point’s Terragenesis emerging victorious from an incredibly competitive field of 42 entries.
The Green Game Jam is a vehicle for studios to empower their players to change their world through the games they know and love. This year’s awards were focused on the themes of forests and food with the aim of influencing one million players’ food choices and planting and protecting one million trees. UN judges said they were “incredibly impressed” by the creativity and innovation of the activations that will be taken into live games. All submissions can be seen on the website here with winners of the awards including:
UNEP Choice: This was won by Hay Day’s green activation “Farmers for Farmers” which educated players about regenerative agriculture via an in-game event and digital Hay Day Cookbook. Players had to reach the community goal in a Global Truck Event to unlock a donation to non-profit Rodale Institute, which will help train real-life farmers in regenerative farming practice.
Media’s Choice: This award was won by Ubisoft Annecy’s Rider’s Republic, with their activation “Phoenix”. Early next year the game will promote strategies to reduce wildfires’ frequency and size and aim to impact players emotionally about their consequences. This award was selected by a panel of gaming media experts.
First to Implement: Carbon Island, developed by Tencent Games, won the first to implement award with their activation “Explore the blue, protect the Earth” the first of 42 entries to go live in the game. Their event allowed players to learn more about ocean carbon sinks.
Best in Forests: The forest experts chose Serious Brother’s Imagine Earth as the winner for this award. With their Steam achievement players can plant real-world trees with their in-game actions. On top of that there was a Steam sale where each game sold 10% of the income goes into planting trees with the sale now extended until July 14th.
Best in Food: Supercell’s Hay Day won a second award this year with their “Farmers for Farmers” activation.
Player’s Choice: The award voted for by the player community went to Wooga’s June’s Journey for the second year in a row. With their activation “Buy a tree, plant a tree – on your island and on your planet” they have planted 200,000 trees in collaboration with Ecosia.
Participant Choice: Voted for by the studios, Tilting Point’s Terragenesis included both food and forests in their activation, giving players a permanent “Tree-derboard” (leaderboard) and in-game Carbon Impact Points.
Most Adoptable: The idea which participants feel is most adoptable to be implemented into other games was Brawlhalla’s activation “The Brawlhalla World Tree Initiative” by Ubisoft’s Blue Mammoth Games. Their in-game charity item’s proceeds goes into planting trees and through a charity stream they will raise awareness and drive further donations.
The 3rd annual Green Game Jam – organised by the UN-facilitated Playing for the Planet Alliance – has attracted 42 entries from studios, up from 27 in 2021 and 11 in the inaugural 2020 competition.
David Jensen, Coordinator for Digital Transformation at UN Environment, and one of the UN judges said: “The submissions were all incredibly impressive and it was hard to choose one winner. With food being such a critical issue, we loved the creativity and innovation of Hay Day but also wanted to specially commend Rider’s Republic for their creative work on wildfires. For all submissions, we loved to see how gamification can increase awareness and change behavior.”
With more than 3 billion gamers playing worldwide, developers have a unique route to raising awareness of the devastating effects of climate change, and the real world battle to save the planet. In March this year, the studios convened for a series of educational workshops to learn more about the importance of food and forests with experts from the UN and experts such as Peter Wohlleben, Louise Mabulo, Matt Homewood, and the Rodale Institute giving talks.
Participants then went to work and submitted their “green activations*” on April 22nd, Earth Day, with the entries judged across eight categories. On June 5th, World Environment Day, the first batch of green activations went live in participating games with Ecosia showing all the trees planted with them here.
Sheila Ndungu, Head of Hay Day Marketing, said: “We’re thrilled – or as we would say in Hay Day – EGG-cited to win UNEP’s Choice and Best in Food! At Supercell, we love finding new ways we can give back to the planet together with our players, and tying the love of food and farming in Hay Day with real-life farming felt like the perfect way to do some good, and celebrate Hay Day’s 10th birthday at the same time.”
The collective work of the studios is set to reach hundreds of millions of players as activations started to roll out on World Environment Day with more to come in the remaining part of the year. In addition, participating studios will also have their work featured on online game platforms, as well as showcased at industry events and future Playing for the Planet Alliance summits.
“We’re honored to receive the Media’s Choice Award this year,” said Boris Maniora, Gameplay Director of Riders Republic. “Our team at Ubisoft Annecy is passionate about nature, and participating in the Green Game Jam gives us an opportunity to share that passion with our players and inspire them to take action for our planet. It is exciting to be recognized for that work.”
The Green Game Jam is an annual initiative by the Playing for the Planet Alliance, a group of 40 video games companies — many taking part in this year’s Jam — which have made specific, time-bound and increasingly ambitious climate action commitments, which are reviewed on an annual basis. Other initiatives by its membership include working on new decarbonisation tools, which will be rolled out industry-wide and give companies the resources to analyse the carbon impact of their operations.
*Green Activations are new features and messaging implemented by participating companies, which highlight environmental themes such as conservation and restoration. This can include in and out-of-game features such as new modes, maps, themed events, storylines and messaging.