Games are often about destruction rather than creation and include acts of killing, felling and undoing. With news of the "Beloved Tree in England Felled in Act of Vandalism" as the New York Times put it, we may imagine that video games are (as is the instinct) in some way to blame.
However, there are many ways that video games offer pathways for young people to connect and rediscover nature. We took some time to talk this over with Dr. Hadi Mehrpouya, Lecturer in Computer Games Technology at Abertay University and Kevin Frediani, Curator of Botanic Garden and Head of Grounds at the University of Dundee.
"We probably will never know the madness or angst that led to such a choice", said Frediani. "We can only perceive the disconnect. I am left wondering how to fill this void with knowledge that shares values, seeks to transform an introspective worldview, and addresses the moral void. I come to understand that we all need to see ourselves as part of the system, that is interdependent, fragile and in a state of change. Looking towards critical work where we act not selfishly but seek to create a just transition for all."
"Young generations who are fearful about their future", said Dr. Hadi Mehrpouya, "with global warming and deprivation of their natural setting on their horizon. For me, cutting of the tree is an act of self-harm when you have no control over your future. As the physical space for play is diminishing in our society, I believe games can play a key role in bringing us closer to nature. Games such as Everything, give us an opening into more than human in which you can become a tree, a mountain, a molecule or the galaxy and experience the unity of all things by becoming them and realising we are them."
We put together this list of games that hold the potential to rediscover the importance of trees in our communities symbolically, practically, culturally and socially.
This list includes 28 games from the last 17 years, with 1,150 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to . We break them down into the following areas: