9 video games from the 90s with terrible environmental messages

Back in the 1990s the human race was just starting to realise what an ecological catastrophe their existence was for the planet. With the Cold War over, mankind had to find another impending apocalypse to fill their time with. Global warming, rising sea levels, and mass extinction seemed just the ticket for mass hysteria.

Except there was one place where no one seemed to care – the world of video games. Here’s a rundown of some 90s games which are (almost certainly) directly responsible for the failing state of our planet.

1. Pokemon

Who’s bright idea was it to teach kids that all wildlife should be stuffed into balls and stored on your computer? A bleak vision of the future indeed.

2. Tomb Raider

Quite apart from the unhealthy expectations about the female body  Lara Croft gave a generation of prepubescent boys, her whole tomb-raiding enterprise was also just an ecological nightmare.

All she did was steal treasured artefacts from indigenous peoples and take an uzi to the local wildlife. Bats are endangered, Lara!

3. Age of Empires

You thought Age of Empires was just harmless fun centred on slaughtering everyone in the neighbouring village. But what did you actually spend most of your time doing? Chopping down forests, intensively mining gold, and farming the land to dust – that’s what!

4. Wipeout

As if Formula One isn’t environmentally destructive enough, Wipeout gave us a blueprint for its future development. It largely involved massive loop-the-loop hover car tracks being built through jungles, oceans, and pristine polar tundras.

We just hope Bernie Ecclestone never played it.

5. Spyro the Dragon

Spyro was just one giant metaphor for our exploitation of the planet. The little purple dragon either killed larger wildlife to directly convert them into wealth (in the form of gems) or burned sheep alive to boost his health.

The expectation – as with humanity – was that the sheep would always come back. But what if one day there were no more sheep, Spyro, what then?

6. Super Mario World

Fitting human-sized pipes into the earth just to make travelling a little bit easier? Who gave an Italian plumber planning permission to do that?

7. Lemmings

We get that you’re meant to be saving the lemmings in this game, but it certainly desensitised a generation of gamers to witnessing the mass death of wild animals.

8. Treasures of the Deep

You probably never played Treasures of the Deep because it was a bit rubbish. Basically you were a scuba diver who had to kill other naughty scuba divers who were hurting the coral reef.

A wholesome environmental message, right? Except you got extra points by catching turtles in nets and watching them flail helplessly towards your “research ship” on the surface.

Remember: the last great auk was killed by scientists trying to study it.

9. Crash Bandicoot

The mission for Crash Bandicoot is to take down evil Dr Neo Cortex who’s polluting his beautiful island homeland with weird radioactive experiments.

But, again, this isn’t as clear cut as it seems. Because in the early levels you’re actually just rooting for a genetically modified bandicoot who’s killing all the native wildlife and local tribespeople.

And the exception to the rule…

Ecco the Dolphin

Finally, a 90s game that is all about saving the planet. And what better way to do it than as a kick-ass cetacean who can travel through time?

Actually, Ecco is so frustratingly difficult that you’ll probably walk away hating dolphins. You literally won’t care whether they become extinct or not.

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