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Rediscover a
Reverence for Trees

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:

Walk Amongst Trees

A Short Hike

A Short Hike is an adventure traversal game where you play the penguin-like character Claire, who needs to climb a mountain in a beautiful national park to receive an important phone call. Presented in cute pixel graphics, the game invites you to...

Abzu

Abzu is an adventure in a lush underwater world. You descend into the heart of the ocean to find ancient secrets and encounter majestic creatures. This combines the beautiful weightlessness of diving with an ancient story of finding meaning and your...

Flower

Flower is a traversal collecting game where you control the breeze blowing across fields of grass and blow petals into other flowers to make them bloom. Flower is simple and single-purpose in evoking the feeling of the wind. What starts as an awkward...

Proteus

Proteus is a narrative adventure game which takes you to a pixelated island. As you explore you discover that your presence changes the seasons and time of day. Delving deeper, there are rudimentary interactions with the creatures that inhabit the land,...

Among Trees

Among Trees is a game you play in a forested wilderness full of creatures and fauna. It's handcrafted by a small team and creates a vibrant world to explore. Play involves hunting for resources and animals to hunt but this isn't a game about combat or...

Fe

Fe is a platform-traversal game where you play a fox in a magical fairy tale forest. The world extends in front of you in stylised form, with trees, mountains and streams glistening with sparkles of life. You run, jump, climb and dip your paws in every...

The First Tree

The First Tree is an exploration narrative game. In a dream, you explore a forest wilderness as a mother fox looking for her cubs. Simultaneously, you revisit childhood memories in spoken reflection from two lovers remembering the dream and their...

Wilderless

Wilderless is a traversal and exploration game where you are left to discover a fantasy world at your own pace without the usual hindrances. You run, jumping and glide your way around the landscape that unfolds beautifully before you. It stands out not...

Paradise Marsh

Paradise Marsh is an open-world collecting game where you explore a varied marsh to find insects to put their stars back in the night sky. You wander an endless wetland and collect creatures, skim stones and eat mushrooms as the weather and seasons...

The Stillness of the Wind

The Stillness of the Wind is a narrative puzzle game where you play an old woman who looks after a dilapidated farm. Over the course of a few hours, no matter what your efforts, the farm falls apart as you learn about the woman’s family and have the...

Tree

Tree is a narrative game that tells the story of a boy who plants a small tree. You control the planting, watering and how the tree grows each season. It stands out for how it illustrates the passing of time and the way we interact and form connections...

Orchids to Dusk

Orchids to Dusk is a short wandering adventure. You are an astronaut stranded on an alien planet, with only a few minutes of oxygen. You explore the world and discover fantastic gardens on the planet.

Miska

Miska is a relaxing narrative adventure game about the flora and fauna of Australia. Rekindle your connection to family and nature through acts of restoration.

The Endless Forest

The Endless Forest is a whimsical online multiplayer game where you play deer in a peaceful forest. You freely explore ruins and ponds, and meet other players, communicating in symbols. The world is like a moving painting, but one that players have a...

Eidolon

Eidolon is a narrative game where you slowly explore a massive, post-human Western Washington. Unlike other action-oriented adventures, here you navigate an open world without threat. It's simply been reclaimed by nature, so your task is to discover...

Gibbon: Beyond The Trees

Gibbon: Beyond The Trees is a swinging, sliding and somersaulting adventure that tells an ecological story about freedom and survival. You explore hand-painted jungle in a parkour style and slowly uncover the story of a lost gibbon searching for home...

Lushfoil Photography Sim

Lushfoil Photography Sim is an adventure where you explore and photograph vast faithfully recreated landscapes. While some other games offer the chance to pause and take a picture, Lushfoil doubles-down on the process, art and tranquility of photography.

Future Unfolding

Future Unfolding is an exploration adventure where you travel into beautiful landscapes to unfold the mysteries hidden around you. Viewed from above, you have a bird's eye view as you encounter different types of wild animals, some helpful and some...

After Us

After Us is an adventure game where you explore a surreal world as Gaia, who must salvage the souls of extinct animals. You play by traversing the world, dealing with hazards and reviving creatures to reveal their fate: the last whale harpooned, the...

Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest is a running and jumping game that places you in control of a diminutive guardian spirit. You traverse and solve platforming challenges to progress through the world while fighting off monsters. It's familiar territory but...

Big Walk

Big Walk is a traversal game where you head into a wide-open world with online friends. You decide where to go together by following your nose while taking on challenges, puzzles and making discoveries. It stands out for its focus on the journey and the...

Work With Trees

Dorfromantik

Dorfromantik is a peaceful village-building strategy puzzle game for one player, inspired by tile-based board games like Carcassonne. You have a stack of hexagonal tiles and work to match their edges while creating areas of towns, forests and fields to...

Apico

Apico is a simulation game where you play a beekeeper and conservationist. You explore environments, breed rare bees and release them into the wild while growing your business. There are no enemies, time constraints or set objectives so you can focus on...

Terra Nil

Terra Nil is a strategy game where you use clean technology to bring back life to a barren world. It's a city-building game where you aren't building a city at all, but a clean thriving ecology. It raises interesting themes of how humanity plays an...

Eco

Eco extends the resource-collecting and building of Minecraft by introducing environmental implications to your actions. Using resources like trees will erode the soil; mining might pollute the river; and each animal depends on another.

Cloud Gardens

Cloud Gardens is a puzzle game where you grow vegetation over a dilapidated post-apocalyptic world. It's a low-pressure puzzle, from the team behind Kingdom. It has the same pixel-art style, but here you are left to take your time...

Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree

Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree is a traversal narrative game set in a Norse-inspired world where combat is a rhythm rather than a reaction challenge. You explore the world as Estra a young warrior on a quest through Midgard to discover the truth behind...

PixelJunk Eden

PixelJunk Eden is an organic puzzle game. You swing from abstract plant shapes to explore a stylised garden, attacking pollen carriers to gather particles that bring seeds to life. It's a game where you grow a field of plants, each one granting new ways...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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