Sorry for not posting in quite a while. I am currently working rather intensively on Mutatione, which is a game concept Nils Deneken realized.
We work together at his place in Copenhagen. After work we sometimes sit on his balcony where we talk a bit about games we've seen or aspects about games.
This post is not going to be very deep or based on steadfast academical references. It's nothing new, it's just something we noticed.
In many games, especially games about exploration, the first levels are set in a summerly green world. A placid, bucolic setting, where the player should feel safe and comfortable. This can be taken as a fast rule of story telling (look at the rules of the monomyth).
Also, I think this is somehow an instinctive choice made by game designers. Perhaps it constitutes a cultural legacy, to start the story in such a green land of honey and milk.
A friend who studied lighting design told me this: The way light falls through tree tops and scatters on a green canopy is very soothing to the eye. Is it an age-old mechanism, perhaps hard-wired into us? Green summer forest equals safety?