Collapsus is an online game-like transmedia production that engages users with realistic future scenarios (2012-2025) about anticipated energy crises and the necessity of transitioning from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources. It consists of three screens or panels contained on one web page. The main fictional storyline is presented in the center panel. In approximately 35 minutes of playing time, you can observe the consequences of the energy crisis in the everyday lives of ten people. The right and left panels light up at certain points in the story. This storyline is designed in such a way that users have to choose their own perspective as the storyline unfolds by participating in three different ways. If you click on the right-hand, documentary panel, you can get a broader perspective by watching CitizEnergy web vlogs. If you click on the left-hand panel, you can play simulation games with the goal of avoiding future blackouts. As part of the storyline in the center panel, minigames can be played.
Contemporary games are increasingly used to make a difference at an individual, community, and/or societal level. Ecological games are one kind of such ‘games for change’: they seek to contribute to ecological thought and turn players into ecological citizens. In his book What we think about when we try not to think about global warming. Toward a new psychology of climate action (2015), the psychologist Per Espen Stoknes theorizes the ‘psychological climate paradox’: the fact that although climate science facts are becoming more solidly documented and disturbing every year, most people either do not believe in these facts or do not act upon them. But the paradox that Stoknes is referring to is only an apparent paradox. It might be solved once it becomes clear that strategies other than presenting ‘facts only’ might indeed convince people to change their behavior regarding ecological issues. Collapsus contributes to solving the paradox by making people reflect on the global, political, and cultural implications of climate change and act accordingly.