Gamers embrace Earth Week

By Josh Alfrey

With Earth Day slowly evolving into Earth Week, environmentalists aren’t the only ones who love a beautiful, clean and healthy environment–just ask any gamer.

“A videogame’s environment can turn a game from a good story to an amazing world,” said Eric Stadlman, senior computer science major. “Games’ natures can teach you to think about our own environment. When you see something incredible in a game you remember that there is something just like that in our world.”

Environments in video games are often one of the most important elements to immersing players into games. No matter where your game takes place–from an ancient magical forest to an alien planet–an environment’s graphics can make or break a game.

A couple of the most beautiful settings I have played in are from “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” This open-world game takes place in Skyrim, a world full of magic, swords and dragons. While trekking through this world’s forests you run into some of the most ferocious virtual creatures I’ve ever had to deal with in my gaming history. I still shudder at the thought of a charging snow bear.

Despite my fears, this is a great example of the importance of a strong gaming environment. Being able to elicit a strong emotional response to the growl of a monstrous bear brings gamers that much closer to their game and to nature.

Matthew Humphries of said, “It says something about a game when it’s just as pleasurable to walk around and take in the view, as it is to partake in the game’s infinite quest system.”

A game’s emotional attachment to me requires two elements: a moving and powerful story and a beautiful, dynamic world. A moment of clarity happens when you want to stop what you’re doing and run around to explore the natural surroundings of the game. If you are ever playing a new game and have that moment of clarity, you know the game you’re playing is outstanding.

According to, “When the player enters the game, they are brought into a whole other world…. Venturing off the paths will lead you to hidden caves or ancient ruins where the player can find treasures, new foes or new missions to play out.”

You’ve never truly played a game until you’ve chased random rabbits for hours on end. If a game’s plot and collectables can take a backseat to adventuring then you have entered a truly magical world.

The next time you are playing a game and enjoying the beautifully formed pixels on your computer or television screen, remember one thing: After you are done saving that world, take a moment to think about what you can do to help our own.