I mean No Man’s Sky the game, which I’ve been playing again lately. It’s been accused of being mostly a platform for generating cheesy sci-fi book covers, but that’s not true, and also I love cheesy sci-fi book covers, so this is mostly to show you some. With a few words on the game.
Updates · No Man’s Sky launched just over a year ago, preceded by a massive hype wave and followed by howls of disappointment when it fell short of expectations. There’ve been three major updates, each with massive additions. and it’s becoming increasingly like a “normal” game, with missions and NPC’s and economies and so on.
Its biggest charm probably remains that it’s an easy game, occasional flashes of excitement, but mostly just cruising along from star to star, enjoying the views.
The game is starting to add inklings of multi-player, and multiple players are self-organizing, most notably to create The Galactic Hub, which I hope to reach some day.
Aliens! · In NMS they’re, more than anything, fun. The planets have their own procedurally-generated menageries, but there are three main species you can actually have relationships with, and learn the languages of. There’s lots of back-story that you soak up as you move through the game. Here’s a Gek.
The beasts in NMS are chatty and come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. They’re more playful than scary. And like I said, it’s an easy game, any creature that attacks you is pretty well toast. But, here’s Jabba the Flowerpott.
My experience · In the picture just above, that’s my current starship, parked on the left. Nice ride, eh? For the cognoscenti: A decent little Samamoga 27-slot B-class fighter, modest stats but a reliable pirate-killer. Which sort of sums up my playing style. I’m busy, with a job and family; thus not a serious gamer. One of the really nice things about NMS is you can do it for an hour here and an hour there and keep progressing and never really get stuck.
I restarted after the 1.3 update (like a lot of others) and I’m going to keep playing till I get a freighter.
Gender · The three primary alien races you deal with do not participate in the human notion of gender. Thus, when individuals are mentioned in text (and there’s a lot of text in NMS) it’s always in a scrupulous third-person: They, them, their. It’s amazing how quickly you get used to it.
On the other hand, the beasts that populate the planets are gendered, and while male and female do appear, one also finds Asymptotic, Asymmetric, Orthogonal, Prime, Radical, Indeterminate,and Vectorised.
So the authors of NMS are having some real postmodern twenty-first century fun; which on balance is a fair description of the whole game. I’m still on board.