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The Top 7… greenest games

You could say SNES classic Actraiser is the reverse of green – you rebuild civilization, turning open, unmolested fields into villages for your loyal subjects. But, as a recently revived god, your task is much more than “tell people to build houses,” as you’re also trying to rid the world of demons slowly sucking the life out of the planet.


Above: The world looks quite serene from your godly perch

You’ll teach your people to farm, to hunt, all the things a good god should do, but a town called Bloodpool has a larger problem - turns out their massive lake is now, well, blood red, poisoned by a nearby demon nest. After banishing the demons with a gift from your subjects, the lake returns to its clear-blue beauty.


Above: Bloodpool, pre-cleanup


Above: Ah, much better. Now about those demons…

This simple message, that poisoned water is bad, clean water is good, is awfully basic but welcome nonetheless. They even identify a little red devil as the culprit, perhaps suggesting that foul runoff and the like are evil deeds worthy of divine punishment. Or maybe not.

The thing that really gets us, though, is what happens in Kasandora, a town buffeted by desert winds and harsh living conditions. One man roams into the desert and dies, his body eventually found by fellow villagers. After suffering such a tragic loss, one man is so moved he invents a thing called “music” to memorialize the man’s untimely death. So very touching!


Above: Music is born, with properties that help calm a nearby rioting town


Above: The tune in question

These aren’t necessarily “green” moments, but the invention of music, and the reason why it was invented (honoring a fallen friend, soothing hearts) reveal a kind-hearted civilization that’s keeping everyone’s well being in mind – even the green land they’re slowly encroaching upon.

Environment saved: A decent-sized lake, probably the size of like six Viva Pinata gardens.

 

A whole game built around Mario cleaning up muddy graffiti has to make the list, but you’re just scrubbing down a swanky tropical resort and not an actual oil spill. Who’s to say Mario would even bother getting all dirty if there wasn’t a princess to save?

 

In terms of sheer brilliance and overall celebration of everything green, Flower easily gets top scores on the eco-meter. You play inside the dream of a flower resting on a city windowsill, acting out what we assume flowers dream about while they very helpfully convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. In this case, said dream is floating on wind currents to turn ugly, apocalyptic terrain into a vibrant showcase of nature’s bounty.


Above: This unsightly mess simply won’t do


Above: What one little flower (and a room full of overheated computers) can accomplish

Each level is a slightly grander dream, allowing the petal to restore more and more of the dilapidated surroundings. By the time you get to the final level, you’re soaring through a broken city, rejuvenating not just grass and trees, but also city parks, swing sets, buildings and alleyways. Rebuilding a human city doesn’t sound all that “green,” but take into account that you turn this heap of scrap:

Into this:

The end result is a game that suggests man-made structures can still co-exist with magnificent trees, clear skies and plenty of intrinsically valuable greenery. Good thing such a powerful message was stated on $10 PS3-only DLC, probably the best way to reach the widest possible audience.

Environment saved: A broken metropolis, though it all takes place in a dream so there’s technically nothing saved at all. But we’re awarding high marks anyway.

 

In the future, mankind will assign his most mundane tasks to machines, ensuring that no child ever, ever has to swing on a rainbow again. Fun fact: Nintendo actually gave away seeds with this game… which was a Wal-Mart exclusive. Gesture negated!

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61 comments

  • Rub3z - April 20, 2012 2:32 p.m.

    "And you look into those eyes... black eyes, like doll's eyes..." ... It's gaze is drilling into my soul now...
  • barrage7667 - July 6, 2009 2:31 a.m.

    ECCO THE DOLPHINS IS GOING TO KILL ME!! AAAAAAAAHHH RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!!!!!
  • Dibbz - July 4, 2009 4:21 p.m.

    LOL, 'Cutting-edge robots armed with the very latest saw technology'. Great Article! PS: Ecco the dolphin looks like a real badass, i dont think u should be fooling with him;) reCaptcha: sassiest pany
  • FETALJUICE - June 7, 2009 3:37 p.m.

    I lol'd HARD at the close up pictures of Ecco.
  • jcseely - May 1, 2009 4:39 a.m.

    Hey cmon, stop haranguing me. I own Okami! Sincerely, The Only Guy Who Bought Okami
  • AuthorityFigure - April 25, 2009 12:03 a.m.

    Excellent end to the article. Well done!
  • noobeater - April 23, 2009 6:40 p.m.

    hmm i knew thatprince of persia would appear when i saw okami (FTW btw) but prince of persia is one of the most polluting games as he plunges the world back in dark evil corruption to save a girl...1 MAN POLLUTED THE WORLD yes you ehard it here first
  • UptownPatman919 - April 23, 2009 3:24 p.m.

    I think you guys forgot a game. what about the Animal Crossing games? one of the main points of Animal Crossing is ti make a better enviroment! but this is still a great article.
  • Ransom - April 22, 2009 2:43 p.m.

    Nice article! Though, a study a few years ago said that Volcanos and dying plants were the leading cause of air pollution, I still enjoyed reading this
  • MacGyver1138 - April 21, 2009 7:36 p.m.

    Everybody always says how great Okami is, but I honestly did not enjoy playing it very much. It was pretty, but the gameplay didn't do it for me.
  • Armyofnone - April 21, 2009 7:28 p.m.

    God damnit, Charlie, you attention mongering sonuva... You win too. I guess.
  • ryno - April 21, 2009 3:28 p.m.

    Okami was very heatwarming at times
  • ryno - April 21, 2009 3:26 p.m.

    i am an enviornmentalist too. Okami defenitely deserves its place on this list
  • abombb - April 21, 2009 12:58 p.m.

    Please don't hurt me Ecco...
  • ThunderMuffinsMcgee - April 21, 2009 5:25 a.m.

    good work, I loved it.
  • Vagrant - April 21, 2009 1:44 a.m.

    No Final Fantasy VII in there? Trans national corporation sucking up Planet's resources and slowly killing it? You actually work for eco-terrorists at the start? And you'll never guilt me for not buying Okami, Gamesradar! (Psychonauts, on the other hand...)
  • twishart - April 21, 2009 12:23 a.m.

    Butchart Gardens, FUCK YEAH. I used to live right near there.
  • Bov11 - April 20, 2009 11:33 p.m.

    lol okami
  • somthing42 - April 20, 2009 11:11 p.m.

    Just another reason to buy Okami recaptcha: south taliban
  • Armyofnone - April 20, 2009 11:09 p.m.

    I fucking LOVE eco-quest. Brett Elston wins at the intarwebs for mentioning it on this list.

Showing 1-20 of 61 comments

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