top of page
  • Writer's pictureJW

Escapism: it's only natural

Fantasy and Science Fiction were the main two genres that used to offer us a way to escape reality. But lately a new theme has emerged and taken over the recreational realm. Now that nature has gone from the Earth and our environment has been ruined, they've entered the domain of dreams and longing.


You can't enter a bloody board game store these days without stumbling over piles of recycled trees selling "nature". As if gawking at weird animals is suddenly below us, in Ark Nova we pretend that zoos ultimately exist for the preservation of species - go score conservation points and feel good. In Earth you create a fictional ecosystem, the world as it could have been, if it had not been for, well, us. In Cascadia the city dwellers of Portland, Seattle and Vancouver can happily lay tiles picturing their surroundings that are being swallowed up by their asphalt jungles. In Endangered we take our troubles to the United Nations, as if they could - or would - change anything that's going on.


Image source: BGG

Most of these games are beautifully illustrated and fit so well into our modern lives where we can't experience anything for real anymore. We are condemned to get our fixes from screens and cardboard. A game like PARKS capitalizes on this transition to the fantasy sphere. First we put fences around a few last spots of green so we could visit them with our SUVs and mobile homes, then we made posters for souvenirs, then we made a game that subsituted these posters for the parks... Now we can collect those souvenirs without ever leaving our house and never have to see nature anymore. Woo-hoo!


Let's play Meadow. Let's play Wingspan. Let's play A Gentle Rain. And dream our pretty dream.


Image source: BGG

Of course grey dwarves and dwarf stars aren't for everyone, so in a way we should be grateful for this development. It will attract new people to the hobby. And most importantly: nature's never really gone this way. In our plays it will live on.

230 views4 comments

Recent Posts

See All

4 comentarios


Gloomknight
Gloomknight
04 may 2023

This article was an eye-opener for me, JW. I couldn’t put it down. Very good topic of discussion you started here.

Me gusta

SnowDragonka
SnowDragonka
03 may 2023

Oh yes, give me the nature themes :D I always had this crazy idea that if people saw what could be, something would make them pursue this. But it's usually not the case. And who am I to say something, I live in an apartment and supplement the nature with all the trees and herbs growing on my balcony, in a controlled, guided environment. Not much nature outside of rain.


Also did you know that you can save the nature and the environment if and only if you're the best at it? Cause competition is why we do things apparently. Games taught me that. If planet dies, we'll start racing who can save the most people and if you lose,…

Me gusta

Zerbique
Zerbique
02 may 2023

By the way, your post reminded me of a statement by Jon Favreau upon the release of his CGI remake of the Lion King:


"I slipped in one single shot that we actually photographed in Africa to see if anyone would notice. This is the only real shot in #TheLionKing. There are 1490 rendered shots created by animators and CG artists."


Who cares about nature when you get CGI? You can't even tell the difference.

Me gusta

Zerbique
Zerbique
02 may 2023

You'll love one of the games I encountered in the "newly added stuff" today:



Me gusta
bottom of page