‘Video game planes emit real carbon’: why gaming is not merely guilt-free escapism

Video games seem like radical relief from hard reality, but they’re also deeply implicated in the problems we collectively face

There’s a woman in my social media feed who has spent the past week flying around the world in an Airbus A320. Remember travel? The degree of enviousness with which I look at her photos of skylines and mountains is well past being impolite.

She’s not really travelling, of course. She’s playing Microsoft Flight Simulator, the latest video game to capture the public’s imagination as a kind of Covid-19 era balm. This is a game that uses Bing maps satellite data to create a one-to-one scale replica of the entire planet, ready for players to explore now that the pleasures of physical travel have been temporarily relinquished by most of us.

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