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Thoughts on No Man’s Sky

Maybe you were living under a rock the past week and didn’t hear about No Man’s Sky. Or maybe you don’t care. Either way it’s okay. But now that you’re reading this, let me tell you a bit about it and why I think it’s one of the most brilliant games I’ve ever played.

It’s a game set in space. You play alone, flying across galaxies going planet to planet, collecting resources and items while discovering new plants, species and universes.

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Besides the fact that the game is visually stunning, it’s receiving a lot of attention because of how big it is. There are 18 quintillion planets. I don’t even know how many 0’s that is. The creators – the tiny game studio Hello Games – has stated that to visit each and every planet for just 1 second, it would take you over 5 billion years.

There are a lot of conversations currently taking place around the game. Some people love it, some don’t. That’s to be expected. But one common argument I’ve seen the non-lovers use is that while the game is beautiful (it really is), exciting and unique, it lacks focus.

No one can argue that. You play alone, there’s not really a story and probably the scariest part of it all is that the game is so vast; so infinite (like our own universe) that you can never even hope to ever complete the game. To me, this is not a flaw.

As a species we expect everything to have a start and an end. There’s a goal to everything, whether it’s your day, month, year. There’s a time during everything that you can define as the moment of success; of completion. We expect things to be this way because it’s comforting and makes life feel like it has more purpose then it really does.

No Man’s Sky challenges all of this. It takes our expectations and says “fuck that – that’s not real”. It places us in a reality not so different from our own and provides a unique and captivating experience that lets you trade one reality for another.

The most surprising realisation is that with all the games we’ve grown to love, from Call of Duty to Pokemon Go to Grand Theft Auto, the realest game of all to me is No Man’s Sky. It’s both the truest and scariest reflection of the world we live in and a constant reminder that the universe is whole lot bigger than any single one of us.

PS. If you’ve already fallen in love with the art of No Man’s Sky, here’s a bit more of it.

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