Weird­ly enough, for the first time in my life I’ve been spend­ing videogame time with mem­bers of the op­po­site gen­der; specif­i­cal­ly, my wife and daugh­ter. Which is an ex­cuse for re­flec­tions on (and groovy pic­tures from) No Man’s Sky.

Open world, with spouse · I saw a re­view some­where and on im­pulse picked up Hori­zon Zero Dawn, a pret­ty and fast-moving open-world bow­shooter. I was watch­ing one of the ear­ly cin­e­mat­ics when Lau­ren walked by, got stuck, and sat on the so­fa. Sur­pris­ing­ly, she stayed there af­ter the movie while I steered Aloy (the fe­male pro­tag­o­nist) off in­to the game. Very sur­pris­ing­ly, a bit lat­er she start­ed point­ing out op­por­tu­ni­ties to har­vest good­ies and dodge mon­ster­s. Shock­ing­ly, the next evening she won­dered if I was go­ing to turn on the PS4.



Now, I’m not in love with HZD. All the shoot­ers I’ve played have been on PC, and I find the PS4 joy­stick com­bo hard to aim with, full of over­shoot. Al­so, HZD’s de­sign­ers love snowy back­ground­s, and I just have trou­ble see­ing the tar­get­ing glyph in white-on-white mod­e.

But I’m go­ing to play some more. Sor­ry, I mean we’re go­ing to play some more. And Lau­ren has to drive oc­ca­sion­al­ly. It turns out that she sees lots of things on the screen that I don’t; very help­ful.

No Man’s Sky, again · I played a while when it came out (see blogs here and here), en­joyed it a lot, but got bored and stopped. I no­ticed a cou­ple big add-ons had dropped and one evening de­cid­ed to poke my head in. My 11-year-old daugh­ter walked by just as I went near some an­i­mal and the “Feed?” di­a­logue popped up. “You can feed the an­i­mals?!” and she was hooked. So we play for an hour a few evenings a week, and I’ll oc­ca­sion­al­ly do a late run. She still won’t do space bat­tles, but has mas­tered the trick of gun­ning down sen­tinel­s. (BTW, if you’re play­ing the game and not mur­der­ing a few sen­tinel­s, you’re work­ing too hard for your zinc and ti­ta­ni­um. Use your grenade launcher.)

So, do­ing things with your kids is good, but I’ll be hon­est, I’m en­joy­ing it again. I like trad­ing up ships and build­ing bases and fight­ing pi­rates and dis­cov­er­ing weird plan­ets and laugh­ing at sil­ly crea­tures. I think what I re­al­ly like is that it’s a re­lax­ing dreamy time (with the oc­ca­sion­al short space bat­tle), I can do it for a while then knock off and head for bed not feel­ing too wired at al­l.

For those who haven’t sam­pled the game, or who did so briefly then fell away, go pay it a vis­it. Al­so, word on the street is more good­ies com­ing.

Any­how, the oth­er thing I like is tak­ing pic­tures; the game now in­cludes a “photo mode” to make that easy. No Man’s Sky pho­tog­ra­phy is def­i­nite­ly a thing; one of the sub­red­dits re­cent­ly ran a pho­to con­test. One rea­son is that there’s a lot of at­ten­tion to light in this game; while there are still things to com­plain about, they com­plete­ly nailed that bit.

So, here are a few. Let’s start with ex­ot­ic alien land­scapes.

No Man’s Sky, red landscape
· · ·
No Man’s Sky, water world
· · ·
No Man’s Sky, scary cave

Then there’s our ship. Oddly, we trad­ed down from A-class to a C-class, be­cause it was big­ger and well-set-up and cool-looking. But a freighter is in our near fu­ture.

The open­ing mountain-top shot is the on­ly one from my home­world “Bengal’s Moon”, a nice lit­tle moon with lots to har­vest and re­al­ly no ir­ri­tants.

No Man’s Sky; mountaintop parking
· · ·
No Man’s Sky; by the beach
· · ·
No Man’s Sky; heading for an anomaly
· · ·
No Man’s Sky; space battle

That last one is ac­tu­al­ly a space bat­tle; those two trails you see are pi­rates try­ing to kill me, but they’re doomed.

Now let’s look at some crea­tures.

No Man’s sky; crab thing
· · ·
No Man’s Sky; headlight creature
· · ·
No Man’s Sky; wings on the head

That last is ridicu­lous, a galumph­ing beast with aethe­ri­al blue wings on its neck that flut­ter fu­ri­ous­ly as it drifts about.

I’ll close with a cou­ple of shots of a nice Gek.

No Man’s Sky; Gek
· · ·
No Man’s Sky; Gek close-up

No Man’s Sky has been ac­cused of be­ing lit­tle more than a gen­er­a­tor of syn­thet­ic space-opera cov­er­s. I’m OK with that.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: orcmid (Jun 17 2017, at 11:46)

Nice one. I must return to No Man's Sky. I agree about the soothing aspects.

At the moment, I am immersed in the GhostRecon: Wildlands solo missions, so I've lost my edge in NMS. We'll see.


From: GJDitchfield (Jun 18 2017, at 14:57)

If you're in a mood to look at pretty things without killing them, ABZU should suit.


From: Michael Hannemann (Jul 02 2017, at 12:06)

NMS: my favorite critter was the friendly galumphing strawberries.


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June 17, 2017
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