It's Earth Day! Let's split.
Earth. We love it, but is that just because we're stuck with it? For every good thing about our planet (oxygen, Maui, cat gifs, Italian food) there's a crummy thing (leaf blowers, Java updates, humankind's everlasting destructive wars based on ignorance and greed, the Paul Blart movie franchise) to offset it.
So, this Earth Day, instead of celebrating Earth, lets ditch this craphole planet and find something better. Here are the best planets to visit in PC games.
Illium, from the Mass Effect series, is a capitalist utopia. To become the trading powerhouse of the galaxy it has a relaxed "anything goes" attitude on everything from safety regulations (there are few) to labor laws (there are none). With easy-to-acquire weapons and omnipresent surveillance, it's similar to the United States, but better, 'cos Illium has legalized drugs and doesn't have Shia LaBeouf.
Aside from one incredibly irritating robot, Pandora is a kickass planet reminiscent of the Wild West, only with trucks called Monsters, actual monsters, and so many different guns you'll spend most of your time trying to decide which ones to keep, which is apparently fun. Plus, Pandora is cel-shaded, which makes everything look like a cartoon! Earth, meanwhile, is—sigh—photorealistic. Booooring.
As home planet for The Elder Scrolls, Nirn is better than Earth in just about every respect. It's got dragons, magic, more than one moon, and the Aurora Borealis every single goddamn night. Come for the shockingly lenient prison sentences for mass murder, stay for the fact that no one finds it weird when you stand outside a store for nine straight hours until it opens in the morning.
Twin ringed gas giants
This image from Elite: Dangerous, captured by galaxy-spanning pilot and Twitch streamer FireyToad, shows two gas giants in (relatively) close proximity. Earth doesn't have rings (unless you count our massive collection of orbiting garbage), and thus sucks. I know you can't stand on a gas giant, but the view of two sets of rings at the same time would be really cool for the one second before you were sucked down and crushed in the planet's boiling hot interior. Wouldn't it?
Kerbol System planets
The most boring thing about Earth is none of us had to do anything to get here. We're just here, by default, because our parents totally did it. Not true of the planets in Kerbal Space Program's solar system. You have to build your own rocket and do a bunch of science to land on one of those planets. That makes them way better than Earth, because you actually earned the right to stand there.
Astronaut Boston Low (in LucasArts adventure The Dig) attempted to redirect an asteroid headed for Earth, and was spirited away to the beautiful and mysterious planet of Cocytus. Naturally, this dope spent all his time trying to get back to Earth by attempting to use a jawbone and shovel on every other object he found, instead of just getting high on life crystals and freaking out over alien artifacts.
Abe probably doesn't enjoy Oddworld, but that's because he's a gloomy alien who only knows a few words. Also, his entire race has been enslaved, which might have something to do with it. I think we earthlings would love it there, though, with it's robust corporate culture and the fact that farts always get a laugh, whereas on earth they only get a laugh about 94% of the time. That remaining 6% is all cold, hard, disgusted stares.
Earth used to be cool back when it was crammed with awesome dinosaurs. Today, the closest we can get to those glory days is visiting an alligator park or cringing at the latest trailer for Jurassic World. Not so on the planet of Maria from Planet Explorers, which is packed with large, lumbering alien dinos. Just another reminder that Earth's best geologic periods are long behind her.
Beyond Good and Evil takes place on Hillys, which is sometimes spelled Hyllis, and I find it endearing when a planet can't even agree on how to spell itself. More importantly, it's a lovely water-based planet and home to a talking pig that can fix electronics. Ever try getting a pig to fix something on earth? Even the talking ones aren't really that good at it.
Okay, maybe Bulletstorm's planet of Stygia has a few issues, like cannibal gangs and mutated monsters. Maybe it's staffed by criminals and polluted with radioactive waste. But it's still darn pretty in its own way, and Stygia doen't have the Paul Blart movie franchise. I'm headed there now.