Two weeks ago (spent one week as a force ghost so had to repost this as it died with me a week ago) I talked a bit about those magical places in games where we tend to linger. Places that offer comfort and peace of mind. I wonder, though, what it is exactly that draw people to them. It could be the sights. We have traveled countless breathtaking worlds together over the years, at times we've stopped dead in our tracks, awestruck. One of my favourite things about Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons are the benches strewn across the land, upon which you can sit for a while and just take in the view.
Another factor that probably plays a big part is sound and music. I, as I'm sure many others, harbour boundless admiration for video game composers and sound designers, and their ability to breath life into these worlds. Small wonder then that we grow attached to places we associate with our very favourite pieces.
To me, the biggest thing is something else though. Something I crave from time to time, that helps me charge my batteries so to speak. Isolation. I'm a rather social creature but equally, I demand occasional solitude. There are probably people all over the spectrum, those that cannot stand to be alone and those that fear the company of others. I couldn't live without one or the other. I enjoy surrounding myself with people but I know that I can escape for a breather when I need to. I find peace in being lonely but I know that I can step out of my bubble whenever I wish. I am not trapped. Video games add a layer to the latter and I get some peculiar enjoyment out of knowing I am alone somewhere in a game ( especially in worlds inhabited by other players too ).
I don't know about you but I like observing things. When I was a kid I used to sit in my dark room at night and look out the window at people, cars, animals... whatever really. Watching from where I could see them but they couldn't see me ( raise your hand if you're at all surprised by the fact that I love stealth games. No? Didn't think so ^^ ). When I find a remote corner of a world and claim it as my own I feel like this. Feel like I'm sitting in my window, waiting for someone to come by so I can secretly spy on them, heh, figuratively speaking. All of these places are not exclusively my own, however. Everyone has access to them, same as me, but!.... it just so happens that the future is now friends :)
Before we continue bending the space time continuum though, I'd like to go back for a moment to the Stone Age ( or as it's more commonly known, 2011 ). We're going to a little place by the name of Guildford, England. While I wasn't there myself, I'm pretty sure this is more or less exactly what almost happened. It was late one December evening. Outside, snow flakes slowly descended to cover the ground in a pure sheet of white ( it was probably raining but that's what our imagination is for! ). In one flat, a dim light could still be perceived, the silhouette of a man sitting close to the window. Tired after a long and hard day of game development, the man was kicking back with a cup of tea, browsing Destructoid on his mobile device of choice ( as you do ). He was probably reading the 159.488th article about Skyrim and happened across a comment, made by me ( the plot thickens! ).
This comment, probably long since lost to the cosmic space horror that lives in the Dtoid server, feeding off the emotions generated by Jim's 4/10 review for Assassin's Creed II and every Destiny article ever written, it resonated with him. In that moment it was as if our minds were one and he had an epiphany. The snowflakes outside turned to stars and the flat became a magnificent space craft ( some reports indicate that a blue, phone booth-shaped object also appeared in the street at this very moment, however, this has yet to be confirmed by a reliable source ). The man went on a journey, kinda like in A Christmas Carol, and learned what he had to do to make things right! Thus, he set upon creating a universe, so that I may selfishly live out my weird fantasies all by myself on a remote rock, floating somewhere out there in space...
Back to the future then ( 2016, if you weren't following ). We have now known about the brainchild of Sean Murray's for a few years, a little game called No Man's Sky. The title would have you believe that this universe and everything in it belongs to no man ( preposterous! ) but I plan on finding my own little piece of the sky and make it mine, just mine and no one else's! I cannot be absolutely 100% certain that no one will come and ruin my party but fortunately math has got my back and I take comfort in its reassuring nature.
According to Sean Murray ( Psychic, Spacefarer and possibly Wizard ) there will be quite a few planets to visit in the game. 18 quintillion to be exact. That's 18 000 000 000 000 000 000 planets! It's frankly too many to even wrap your head around. Naturally, the vast majority of these will never be visited, much like our very real universe of course. But this detail does things to my brain that it likes. Let's blow things immensely out of proportion and estimate that ten million people will buy this game. Not impossible but definitely improbable. If every one of these people visited a thousand worlds each ( a feat in its own right ), that would leave 17 999 999 990 000 000 000 worlds undiscovered. A meager ~0.000000005% will be trod upon by men. It is in the face of this I take comfort in the near infinite improbability that someone else will find my particular rock.
I don't know what I'll find on it. I don't know what I will name it. I just know that I will find it and claim it as my own. I'm going to visit a place in a video game that no one will ever lay eyes upon besides me. For some reason this makes me all giddy with excitement and I'm probably crazy. Honestly, why think small. I should probably get myself an entire solar system while I'm at it! Now, I started listening to Gamma Ray as I'm writing this so I'm having trouble accurately reading my hype gauge right now ( it's causing some major interference! )., but I might just have hopped on a giant hype rocket bound for infinity. We should probably take a step back into the real universe and also look at it from a different perspective though. I am a mere mortal so you'll have to forgive me, I cannot speak for everyone ( unlike Jed ) but I think it's safe to assume that this game won't live up to everyone's hype and expectations. As I've tried to explain above, however, I'm more fascinated with the concept and what it potentially means. If there's a good game in there too, that's a sweet bonus. While I remain convinced there is, undoubtedly there will be people who imagine things too grandiose to fulfill. I'm sure my own expectations will be met though and I can't wait to see what the game has in store for me.
"But, Lokhe, what if you never come back!?", I hear you desperately asking. Fear not my friends, while I may be alone out there in the endless void, I have my trusty co-pilot by my side ( in 10 days we've been commandeering this relation-ship together for 5 years btw! :D ). Girlfriend and I have big plans for this summer. Set up our rigs beside one another and together, albeit on different ends of the galaxy most likely, explore the final frontier. Lots of snacks will be had and I suspect pants will not be worn, who needs pants when you have a fucking space ship anyway!? Plans to rebuild the living room into the USS Enterprise bridge are currently under review, might settle for drawing the little badge thing over my left nipple with permanent marker though, we'll see.
Do you also plan on finding a a cozy planet with pink trees and fluffy animals? Tell me down below and I'll stay clear of it. See you starside! ;)