Offset: A Global Carbon Cycle and Climate Change Mobile Game from NASA

Friday, 19 December 2014
Kyle Jordan Mansfield1, Alex H Kasprak1, Alexander Novati1, Nancy Leon1, Kevin W Bowman2 and Michael R Gunson3, (1)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)Jet Propulsion Lab, Pasadena, CA, United States
The global carbon cycle—and humans’ role in altering it—is key to understanding both how the climate system works and how people can help to affect positive change in the future. Delivering this message to younger audiences will be a crucial step in inspiring the next generation of climate scientists. Here, we demonstrate a new mobile game (iOS) aiming to make the carbon cycle more accessible to students and their educators. This game—called OFFSET—highlights the role humans have as players in the global carbon cycle—both as sources of CO2 and as agents that harm CO2 sinks. OFFSET is a pong-like game and a resource management game all in one. The player simultaneously spends resources to replace old technology with greener technology while he or she actively prevents CO2 molecules from escaping to the atmosphere with a paddle. The game is fast, simple but challenging, and educational. Games like OFFSET can be a powerful tool to teach climate science to younger audiences.