Exploration, open worlds and vast nothingness have captured people's imaginations more than anything else this week, with a number of games inspiring a sense of connection and wonderment
- Debris | vextro
leeroy lewin praises the aesthetics of the wide open and the pitch black.
"Debris is a visual aid, an interactive song. A gentle music transformed into a terrifying confession, a full marriage of very conflicting and dissonant aesthetics. A nothingness that demands the attention. A terrifying experience treated as another day at work."
- Abzû immerses you in a beautiful ocean and lets nature run its course | The A.V. Club
Nick Wanserski describes how Abzu represents and encourages graceful shifts between different modes of perception.
- Abzu Is A Rare Game That Helps Players Feel Connected To Nature
Keza MacDonald describes a sense of wonder and mystery, and makes a call for more games that help us to feel a part of larger ecological worlds.
"Like space, the deep ocean is a metaphor for the unknown. We don’t know what’s down there, and unless we spend a great deal of money and time training to dive down with oxygen tanks strapped to our backs and water pressure compressing our fragile lungs and vessels, we will never get to see it up close."
- Full Disclosure: Pokemon GO | Haywire Magazine
Taylor Hidalgo expresses the value of Pokemon Go, in the opposite direction to how you might expect such a review to be written.
- What 'Pokemon Go' and 'Skyrim' Have in Common | PopMatters
Nick Dinicola highlights game design techniques that encourage a sense of discovery.
"The compass in Skyrim was meant to point us towards interesting locations. Lots of time and effort went into designing that world, and the developers wanted to help us see as much of it as we could. The PokeStops in Pokemon Go might not have been designed with that same specific intent, but the resulting feelings of exploration and discovery are the same. I’m still drawn to things that might otherwise go overlooked. It’s actually shocking how much art surrounds us at all times that we don’t notice, little works of creativity that give the world a human touch."
No Man's Sky
- What No Man's Sky means for the future of open world games | ZAM - The Largest Collection of Online Gaming Information (video: auto-captions)
Danielle Riendeau argues that infinity is a tricky thing to make use of as a designer.
- No Man's Sky. (Emphasis on "Man") | Outside Your Heaven
Matthew Weise calls out the colonial hubris of human exploration in alien worlds.
- No Man's Sky review: beautifully crafted galaxy with a game attached | Technology | The Guardian
Jordan Erica Webber takes a more measured stance, arguing that while the game mechanics seem arbitrary, they do the job of keeping you engaged.
"These interactions are comparatively shallow, but they’re enough for now. The developers have struck a difficult balance, providing reasons to keep playing without overcomplicating or distracting too much from the joy of exploration."