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Part of Digital Game Showcase

Lichenia

Paolo Pedercini

City Builder (IT, 2019)

City-building games like SimCity have a built-in bias on what cities should look like: the game rewards the player for digital cities that match the car-based, consumption-focused metropolises of our capitalist society with a clear separation of work and leisure. The city is portrayed as something that can be grasped in abstraction, where a mastermind designer can plan direct effects with specific causes. Nature only plays a role as an arbitrary, destructive force that the city has to be defended from.

In Lichenia you create human habitats amidst the climate chaos. But instead of boarding up temples of consumption from natural disaster, you reshape the natural and built environment, reclaiming dead cities, and growing sustainable ones. The process remains ambiguous. The city is not built, but tended to: it lives and grows in relation to other living organisms.


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