A grey graphic for Now Play This 2021. It shows a collection of 8-bit pixel graphics, including flames, hearts and leaves
Online Event

Now Play This 2021

25 – 28 March 2021 

London’s leading festival of experimental games Now Play This returns with a new four-day virtual programme packed with interactive games, workshops, and conversations to enjoy from home.  

This year’s edition, presented as part of London Games Festival, explores the climate crisis through games and play, inviting audiences to creatively interrogate the ecological issues faced worldwide today.   
Players can enjoy a vast range of both individual and collaborative gameplay, created by an innovative community of makers, designers and artists, with new games becoming available each day of the festival. From taking responsibility for the fate of the planet in interactive simulations, to creating beautiful ecosystems or witnessing environmental destruction in imagined futures, Now Play This 2021 offers a unique gaming experience, forming an exciting and timely online series, open to all ages and abilities.


Now Streaming


Thu 25 Mar

Flying to the Festival    
Live Play Event | 15.00  

Offering light-hearted escapism in a time where travel is restricted, and without the carbon footprint, you are invited to ‘take flight’ to the festival with a live event and discussion on what we need to have fun, all played out within Lebanese designer Hosni Auji’s Airplane Mode simulator. 

Activity | Play Anytime  

Game designers Amy Strike and Tom Williams invite you to join them on a meditative journey that begins within your home and leads you into the outside world. Delivering instructions and invitations through your phone, Repurpose is a self-guided micro adventure questioning how we consider and use objects in our surroundings.

Greener Games: One Studio’s Approach to Sustainability    
Talk | 18.30  

Now Play This join London-based games studio Space Ape to discuss how they achieved their goal of becoming a carbon negative company and to share their thoughts on how we too can be more sustainable.  

Folk Game TikToks with Danny Hawk    
Talk | 20.00  

New York-based independent game developer Danny Hawk hosts a streamed talk exploring the emergence and explosion in popularity of folk games on the video sharing platform TikTok over the course of the pandemic.

Communal Festival Space designed by Tiz Creel + Festival Party     
Activity | Available to access across the weekend     
Tiz Creel, Mexican born and London based artist and game designer, presents a 2D-social space. Users can enjoy communal games, live events and a festival party all within a new digital work inspired by the festival line-up and architecture of Somerset House. 

Fri 26 Mar

Climate Change Games and Research – An Open Exchange  
Workshop | 13.00  

Hosted by game designer and urban geographer Jana Wendler, this workshop brings together climate researchers and game designers for a frank exchange about the hopes, fears and realities of communicating scientific knowledge through games and changing perspectives in play.

World Climate Simulation    
Live Play Event | 15.00  

Independent, not-for-profit think-tank Climate Interactive present a live role-play simulation of UN climate change negotiations, where players can see the impact of their environmental decisions with live analysis from a digital modelling tool. 

Among Ripples: Shallow Waters   
Live Event | 17.00
Swedish development team Eat Create Sleep present  a new eco-tycoon simulation in which players work together as a team of scientists to build, repair and maintain the delicate ecosystem of lakes and rivers in a near future setting. 

Cards Against the Climate Crisis  
Live Play Event | 18.30  

Audiences are invited to join designers and activists in playing and discussing two board games, Ecologic and Carbon City Zero, both of which explore the climate crisis , from balancing extracting minerals from the landscape whilst offsetting damages, to developing a sustainable city. 

Balance of the Planet   
Activity | Play Anytime  

You are invited to experience game designer Chris Crawford’s celebrated environmental crisis simulator, which was originally released for Earth Day 1990. 

Sat 27 Mar

Alternative Ecologies Jam    
Community Game Jam | Anytime  

Writer and games researcher Emilie Reed invites audiences to engage with critical games writing and the themes of the festival through contributing their own writing, micro-games, or calls to action about gaming's relation to economic and ecological issues. 

The Last Survey   
Activity | Play Anytime
Artist Nicholas O’Brien presents a narrative essay game in which players take on the role of a geologist advising a Brazilian mining company, making critical choices to save the Earth’s exhausted metal reserves or witness the consequences. 

Villains and Heroes   
Activity | Play Anytime  

Software artist and writer Marloes de Valk presents an interactive narrative game based on a real event: the costume party hosted by multi-billionaire Robert Mercer shortly after the election of Trump, December 2016. Players must uncover the identity of the disguised guests – among them key players in climate change denial and disinformation campaigns, without exposing themselves as an uninvited guest.   

Games about Bad Actors    
Talk | 15.00  

Artists Nicholas O’Brien and Marloes de Valk (creators of The Last Survey and Villains and Heroes) join the Now Play This team to discuss games that explicitly explore bad actors in terms of the climate crisis.  

Venice 2089   
Activity | Play Anytime  

Presented by Italian development team, Safe Place Studios, Venice 2089 follows disaffected teen Nova who is visiting her grandfather in a rapidly sinking Venice.You are invited to explore the city through the eyes of Nova, which once a significant tourism destination is now almost uninhabited, struggling with the unpredictable behaviour of tides.   
Even in Arcadia    
Activity | Play Anytime   

In this experiential narrative game by Phoebe Shalloway, you can explore and eavesdrop on characters in a hyper-capitalist future on Earth, where corporations develop and move society to new planets, and dispose of the old planets like smartphone models. 
Imagining Post-Climate Crisis Worlds    
Conversation | 17.00  

The creators of Venice 2089 and Even in Arcadia join the Now Play This team to discuss games that look at a future in which it might be too late.  

Sun 28 Mar

Summit for Intergalactic Knowledge    
Live Play Event | 16.00  

Become an alien, or a slime mold, or a rock, in this playful online live action role-playing game from international artists Alen Ksoll, Margherita Huntley and Natalia Skoczylas which premieres at Now Play This. Participants inhabit various new characters to start addressing the challenges of the anthropocentric climate crisis.  
Garden of Earthly Delights    
Live Play and Conversation | 17.00   

Canadian developers SCRNPNT return to Now Play This with their new online work, a chatroom which allows users to transform into different species from the animal kingdom of Age of Empires II. 
Honour Water    
Game and Interview | Play Anytime
Honour Water is a singing game for healing water that passes on songs in Anishinaabemowin, the Anishinaabe language, presenting Water Teachings and singing challenges alongside art by Anishinaabe artist Elizabeth LaPensée. For Now Play This, you can enjoy an exclusive interview with the creative team behind the game.   
Floating Point Leviathan  
Game | Play Anytime   

Dutch developer Yan Knoop premieres a new game providing players with a single implied goal to hunt a whale. However once the creature is hurt, the world too fractures around it, challenging viewers to face consequences of the damage caused.   


Now Play This 2021 is supported by Goethe-Institut