- Drew Miller Hyman
- PB Och
When Liam Harvey begins to have anxiety attacks due to the climate crisis, he decides to find a way for others, like himself, to care about the environment. So, an autistic game designer has created an RPG that aims to save the planet, hoping that players will continue that fight in the real world.
Players gather around the desk and start playing Ecobank, accepting the role of characters who will see environmental disasters in 2044.
All you need to take part in this game is a book with various paths through which the game can go and sheets with details of each character, through which you can see what energy, skills and tools you have. You also need a lot of dice.
The designer of the game is Liam Harvey from Nanhead in south-east London, who has autism and was raised to think in the way he calls “political dissent”. He does not like the way the world works with “irrational” ideas that seem to be blindly accepted by others.
This feeling is well known to many autistic people: if anything in the world is irrational, it must be corrected.
This led to Liam’s concern for the environment, and his frustration at the lack of concerted action to protect the planet.
Liam refers to the current climate emergency as a “decisive moment” in his life and says it may have “ended” in a pessimistic tone.
The only limits to Ecobank are the player’s imagination and rules, but the story is dark and dystopian, perhaps more familiar.
After the failure of humans to function in the early part of the twenty-first century, the climate is rapidly deteriorating and the human race is plunged into extinction. You may find yourself playing as a frustrated hacker, bitter robot soldier or beer-making botanist. They are all not integrated into society, but they are fighting for the survival of humanity.
Liam says the story begins when the crisis culminates.
“Political systems have been dismantled and restructured according to the new reality. We no longer live in the age of capitalism. The United States is somewhat distorted.”
Liam envisioned three new powers: the Socialist Union of Central Africa, the Chinese Empire, and the European Community.
Imperialism, neo-Marxist collectivism and environmental-fascism each have their own perspectives on solving the world’s problems.
Want to create a complex world? The game certainly allows you.
Soldiers are coming from the margins of these countries, and although they are not involved in politics, they have to deal with it in order to survive.
Like Greta Tunberg, an environmental activist with autism, Liam suffers from anxiety attacks caused by climate change, which is especially talked about nowadays, especially among young people. Like Greta, Liam had panic attacks when he was younger.
The creation of this game helped him to control the situation to some extent.
The months he spent writing and playing the game provided hundreds of pages of game rules, missions, mechanics and secrets.
Liam realized that the character of a man who was obsessed with numbers and enjoyed meeting with friends to play games that included dice and score cards was identical to autism.
But he says he’s more interested in the aspect of the other characters in the game. The problem is not arithmetic, but about identifying those characters and thinking in the same way and interacting with this imaginary world.
For example, he found that the rebirth of charismatic or self-confident personalities helped him to take advantage of this.
I asked him, does it not seem like a mask when people with autism follow the behaviors of unaffected individuals, because it usually involves suppressing their autistic traits that cause stress?
Liam replied that it was different for him, but recognizes the similarities, and says that roll-flaming provides a “safe place” for stealth training.
In October, Liam launched a successful kickstart fundraiser, raising about £ 15,000 for the Ecobank product. Kickstart is a website that helps people raise donations to fund new social service projects.
A simplified version of the game is already available for free download online as a PDF file, while donations will be sent to the “professionally made” version, which includes numerous works of art and the paper version that Liam was interested in. Ensure carbon neutrality to emphasize.
Liam wants people to think about the environment, and he believes players will “fight for the future” just as they played the game.
“Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator.”