One of the topics I often find myself coming back to is a certain type of space-sim game. Not one that is focused only on combat like X-Wing, or a character-driven storyline like Mass Effect (although those are both awesome games) but a kind of immersion with open-ended gameplay.
Games along these lines include Elite (and its future iterations, including, Elite: Dangerous), the X: Beyond the Frontier series, Privateer, Freelancer, and most recently, No Man’s Sky. These all try to share the same core concept of giving you a ship and letting you choose where to go from there. Trade, Explore, Fight, whatever you like.
Some include a storyline, but as an almost secondary function. Some are more complex than others (The X series has you controlling fleets of ships and space stations, the second and third Elite games included realistic Newtonian physics which, while realistic, hampered fun playability for many). Some also succeed at their better more than others (I wasn’t a huge fan of Freelancer or Privateer for a number of reasons).
But one thing I’ve noticed over the years looking for and playing these games is just how many people don’t seem to “get” it. They find these games boring, or get frustrated with the lack of focus or story.
Now, obviously there’s a demand for these games or they wouldn’t keep getting made, but it’s pretty clear that it’s a niche market compared to, say, Call of Duty FPSs or Elder Scroll type RPGs. And it’s easy to feel kind of alone in the universe when you excitedly talk about “your” game and their eyes glaze over.
So when I stumbled across this article, I was reminded for a moment that I’m not alone, and that there are many other players out there like me, who play these games and are still filled with wonder.
Give it a read and you’ll understand my view on these games just a bit better, I think.