February 1, 2013
Explorative Gaming: A Modern Christopher Columbus
About a year ago I did an article about adventure gaming and its decline in popularity in the gaming industry and how we at TGB would love to see them make a comeback. There is another aspect of adventure gaming that we never talked about and that is exploration.
There are many varying degrees of exploration… it could be something as simple as seeing something you haven’t seen before to opening a locked chest, exploring an hidden room, traversing an abandoned castle or even exploring a cave. To discover something that you’ve never seen before brings a level of excitement that is hard to explain.
Many games of varying degrees of exploration because you inherently see something that you haven’t seen or done something you haven’t prior but very few games ever really focus on it. There are a few that come to mind such as Myst *and all its sequels*, Syberia, The Elder Scrolls series, and last but not least Minecraft which will be the showcase of this article.
I’ll admit that I’m a few years late to the Minecraft scene as I really hadn’t given it much thought because quite frankly I thought it looked kind of stupid. I decided to pick it up one day on the Xbox 360 as there were several ads for it.
Minecraft is one of the simplest games I’ve ever played yet it just goes to show that a game doesn’t have to be full of explosions, screaming, swearing, and bullets to be captivating. Minecraft isn’t just captivating its addictive… very addictive. Yes it’s like building Legos without the hefty price and yes the graphics look like they came out of an early 90’s doom game but the game is still captivating, addicting and immersive. In addition to being able to build whatever you want, sculpt the landscape to your will and mining there is a very large landscape to discover and explore, there are mountains, tree’s, animals, plants and caves… some small and some that inspire awe, even in 8bit texture.
Half of Minecraft, at least in my experience, has been spent exploring different areas of the map, exploring caves, and traversing the landscapes. Every game that you play is different because it is randomly generated so each experience will be new. If you play the PC version you can even download texture packs to make it look even better.
I wonder what Christopher Columbus must have felt like when he first saw the Americas? When he first set foot on the land was he awestruck. Just exploring caves in Minecraft can make me take a step back.
At first I thought, perhaps it’s just me, so then I asked one of my friends to try out the game with me and he refused on the same reservations that I had. I finally got frustrated and bought the game for him and after about an hour he said “I can’t believe how fun this game is. It shouldn’t be this fun. “ Which was the same thing I thought.
I know that when it comes to adventure & explorative gaming that I and now him as well are an minority. But I would sure love to see games like Myst, Syberia and Minecraft make a comeback. Thoughts?