Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Connection or Confusion?

The first Earth Day took place exactly thirty-nine years ago. Back then, we were worried about regional problems such as pesticides and toxic dumps. We were still unaware of global challenges such as the hole in the ozone layer and climate change.

A couple of years later, Pong became the first commercially successful video game. As video arcades grew and video games became more sophisticated, many people thought gaming was a fad or suspicious pastime. Even those who attained the rank of Space Avenger on Gorf had no idea how ubiquitous gaming PCs and consoles would become.

Today, the environment is a bigger issue than ever before. Games rival Hollywood in the entertainment field. Am I seriously implying a connection between these two subjects by putting them together? At first, I thought it was silly to do so. As this year's Earth Day drew near, though, I thought of ways in which gaming and the environment affect each other. For example, the digital distribution of games could be better for the environment than retail and mail-order distribution. Conversely, some games, such as Sid Meier's Civilization series, present players with environmental challenges such as pollution and global warming.

This blog will explore the connections between our virtual lives and the real environment. Some of these connections will be tenuous, even ridiculous, but still fun to think about. Others will make sense and may even lead to improvement in our lives. Most of these connections will fall under the following subjects:
  • The environmental effects of the gaming industry and hobby
  • The environmental advantages of digital distribution
  • Games that address environmental issues
  • How to be a greener gamer
My goal is to write an article about these subjects on a weekly basis, with the occasional non-gaming or non-environmental post thrown in just for fun.

I'll close with some green advice on this Earth Day. Tips on going green abound on the Internet, so I'll just make one suggestion. If your home or workplace tends to leave its PCs on 24 hours a day, find out why. If the PCs aren't running critical applications, have them shut down tonight. See how that works for you, then consider shutting them down every night.

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