Despite the large number of games across all genres that broadly locate their action in the dystopian or even post-apocalyptic futures of popular science fiction film and literature, it has been the strategy/simulation genre that has seen developers of mainstream commercial videogames most explicitly reference climate change.
Often drawing on the aesthetics and game mechanics of their tabletop/board game counterparts, strategy videogames are based around the management and development of resources and typically position the player in a ‘God-like’ perspective of oversight and control.
They present as complex simulations, building economic, technological, political, and environmental factors into their models.
Typically, climate change is presented as the undesirable, even unavoidable, consequence of industrialisation.
Researching and developing fossil fuels or developing technologies that lead to the invention of the automobile, for instance, might have the in-game effect of increasing pollution which might, in turn, impact upon the happiness and productivity of virtual citizens or impact upon the utility of land.
Gameplay often allows negative environmental impacts to be mitigated through clean-up activities and the development of new technological solutions such as cleaner energy production, for instance. In many strategy games, players are provided with options to reduce the frequency of potentially game-ending natural disasters or even deactivate them altogether.