Video games have come a long way since Pac-Man and Q*Bert. If you are new to gaming or are still blowing on NES cartridges, you may be surprised by the fastidious detail and immersive experiences contained in modern video games. More than storyline and gameplay, many games craft intricate and thriving worlds that offer seemingly endless opportunities for exploration. From realistic depictions of the early American Wild West to alien water-worlds to post-apocalyptic hellscapes, the environments and ecology one can encounter can be anywhere from realistic to speculative or fantastical. So why not let ecologist Jessie deHaan be your guide?
In the new podcast, Gamer’s Guide to Ecology, Jessie deHaan takes you on a tour through some of the most beautifully crafted and compelling environments in gaming.
Here at scientificanda, we are excited to announce that we will be partnering with Gamer’s Guide to Ecology! Starting this September, catch episodes of Gamer’s Guide Thursdays at noon on CFMU.ca and 93.3 FM in Hamilton, or wherever you find podcasts. Oh, and of course, be sure to follow Jessie on Twitter and Twitch.
More about the show
Jessie did a Master’s degree in Ecology and Evolution at Brock University on the thermal ecophysiology of a native bee species. In their spare time (as much as a grad student can have), Jessie likes to play open-world, survival and RPG video games. The idea for Gamer’s Guide to Ecology came about when they were invited to attend ComSciConCAN-GTA in 2021 and were tasked with creating a piece of SciComm media. To avoid having to write more (people writing theses would agree), Jessie decided to make a podcast episode that combined two things they really loved; ecology and gaming.
The podcast just wrapped up a four-part series on the in-game ecology of Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games, 2018). This game is an open-world RPG that follows a gang of outlaws around a fictional area of the United States. In the first series Jessie talks about in-game biomes, biodiversity, animal behaviours and the complex interactions between characters and the natural world. The podcast blends ecological and evolutionary concepts into a quasi-game-review format that can best be described as “edutainment”. Jessie’s educational background and personal interests mean that this podcast comes across as genuine and exciting. You can clearly tell this is something they’re very passionate about. The game for September’s series of episodes will be Subnautica, and episodes will talk about the possible evolutionary/selection effects that lead to aquatic life on an alien water planet. Check out Gamer’s Guide to Ecology wherever you find podcasts!