-Martin Valentino

http://www.wow-europe.com/cataclysm/

Cool, games. You know what they are. Now, this may seem a bit odd, why am I not picking an artist and writing about them. Well simply 1) the environmental artist that I really liked got picked already 2) games are 200 times more awesomer and I figured I’d try and see if I can find environmental connections in the games I play, which may be more subtle and overlooked by myself.

SO. The game I will be looking into for this post is the World of Warcraft expansion: Cataclysm.

For the few who are unfamiliar, World of Warcraft, or WoW is labeled as a massively multi-player online role playing game (MMORPG). Basically, it’s an online game where players create a character and interact with other players in a large open world. This particular expansion was released last year (December 2010) as the third expansion pack. WoW was released around 2004, but the game’s universe has been around since early 1995 in the form of older games.

Now, why would I pick Cataclysm? Well, in this particular expansion a great…. cataclysm…. has befallen the world. Without going into too much lore or storyline. Some regions of this world which used to be peaceful have been torn apart my natural disasters, from an unnatural source (the unnatural source being a giant evil dragon that wants to destroy the world). Likewise, regions that used to be barren have been transformed by the shifting of the climate and natural disasters. This in turn has caused political turmoil between races and a lack of natural resources, which have sparked more wars.

The trailer does a pretty decent job explaining it (for the first 2 minutes):

Without reading too deeply into it, I think it’s pretty cool that current events can impact what artists and designers decide to put in their games content wise. I think it goes to show that people are at least aware subconsciously that there is something up with the environment. I don’t really think this game was made with the intent to say “HEY, the environment is in trouble, go do something about it,” and I don’t think anyone who plays the game is probably that interested in saving the environment, but I do think the designers did a good job of looking at what is going on in the world today and becoming inspired by it to create an interesting new content.

So the point, games could be a really cool medium to pass along the environmental message. Maybe the big evil dragon destroying the world could be a metaphor for human greed and consumption. The diminishing resources leading to political upheaval and wars. Ironically, it feels a bit foreshadowing. The world could be destroyed if we don’t do something about it. In a sense a individuals team up with other individuals and form groups to defeat the evil and save the world.

Of course that’s not really how I feel when I play, but maybe subconsciously when I get sucked in to the story. There are probably other games out there which do this already and it’s really cool to see games becoming more an art form and not just mindless games.

WHOO!

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5 responses »

  1. Elaine Wu says:

    I never realized this but tons of games revolve around this theme. It’s almost as if we know that running out of resources is one of the greatest possible disasters so we often feature it in games, but we don’t recognize that it’s slowly (quickly?) happening in real life.

  2. Eric De Barros says:

    Haha this post is funny. I didn’t realize such a non-earthy activity (video games) would support the idea of nature/life/earth. But I suppose it makes sense in that some of the game players need to be reminded of the beauty of the universe outside their basements. I like how you found an unusual venue for environmental art.

    Peace 🙂

  3. Ben Anderson says:

    HAHA this is too funny but you made it work and for that sir, I applaud you

  4. Lol This was a really creative post. Thank you. I enjoyed your points, Games need some more recognition for environmental help and relevance! Its really cool that some companies are trying to teach younger and older generations to be aware of the world around them through video games.

  5. I think that this was an awesome approach to the assignment. It made me look and actually pay attention to these games and find the parallel to global warming and climate change. Brilliant!

    ~Mackenzie Vartanian

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