Nature and Gaming

Bringing E-Parks to Schenley Plaza

“Come out. Have fun. Make friends. Play a game. Enjoy music!” That’s Saul’s pitch for the upcoming E-Parks experience on June 17. 

Saul Wells is the Senior Manager of Visitor Experience here at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. However, when he’s not working to keep Pittsburgh’s parks beautiful and accessible, he’s likely partaking in a different passion… gaming. As an avid gamer, Saul wanted to bring the video game experience to nature through E-Parks. To gear up for this exciting summer series, we chatted with Saul to learn all about the unique connection between gaming and nature. 

Question: How did you get started with gaming? 

Answer: I started playing video games in elementary school, back when technology was really starting to take off. The first game I ever played was actually the Oregon Trail (and yes, I died of dysentery multiple times). It was just a group of us in the library playing together, and as an introvert, gaming made it easier to make friends. I noticed that when you are distracted you tend to open up more, and so gaming was a great way for me to connect with people. And that’s where it all started.  

Now I own over 15 gaming consoles and am still buying more! Additionally, If I find a console that’s not in working condition, I’ll spend months repairing it and trying to get it up and running. 

Question: What is the connection you are trying to create between nature and gaming? 

Answer: It’s no secret that spending time outdoors is good for our health. So, I wanted to take my passion for gaming and give people an opportunity to also get some fresh air and enjoy nature.  

While I love working in the parks, I didn’t do a whole lot of physical activity as a kid. Instead, I was running to the library to play games rather than running to the parks. Unfortunately, those technological resources aren’t always available to everyone.  

Now, especially going through a pandemic, we notice that when things get shut down, where did people run to? Either gaming or nature. So why not bring them together? 

Question: Let’s talk about the upcoming “E-Parks” events. What should people expect? 

Answer: I am going to bring several gaming systems and project them onto the Schenley Plaza tent for anyone to play! My plan is to bring a newer system and a couple of older systems from each manufacturer, so we will have a wide variety of games to choose from. Anyone and everyone are welcome to play, watch, listen to the DJ, and enjoy!  

One game I am planning to bring is Rocket League. I’d also like to include something along the lines of Super Smash Bros or Mariokart for the Nintendo64.  

As much as I would LOVE to game with them, we’ll be streaming the whole time, so I will be busy in the chat responding to people all evening.  

Question: Is there anything else you would like to share? 

I just think that parks bring people together, and so does gaming. We will be hosting one event per month all summer, so I hope you are able to join us for an awesome evening of gaming! 


Friday, June 17:  

Friday, July 15:  

Friday, August 26: