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Premediating climate change in videogames: Repetition, mastery, and failure

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This article starts with the observation that growth-oriented, techno-futurist narratives are predominant in climate change videogames. It then accounts for the lack of variety by arguing that these videogames are privileged expressions of premediation. Premediation cultivates a multiplicity of future scenarios, while at the same time delimiting them to suit presentist concerns, evoking a sense of inevitability and predictability strengthened by repetition. The iterative, branching temporality at work in this logic is deeply ingrained in videogames, as the trope of mastery through repetition and its analysis requires attentiveness to the affective dimensions of gameplay. If videogames are to engage with the climate crisis more productively, they must develop different temporalities in which the potentiality of the future is preserved. In this article, I analyse the games Fate of the World and The Stillness of the Wind to demonstrate how videogames premediate climate change and how they can explore other temporalities latent in the present.