In Defense of No Man's Sky

In Defense of No Man's Sky

When a game is better than its gameplay.
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“No Man’s Sky” is a game about wandering. More than that, it is a video game that allows the player the freedom to completely ignore the narrative threads presented to them and immerse themselves in the digital cosmos. In many ways it is a sort of culmination of that classic gaming idea of “switching your brain off” and exploring. “No Man’s Sky” is also a game rife with controversy in the gaming industry, and middling in broken expectations.

After its launch on August 9 of this year, “No Man’s Sky” has garnered a jumble of mixed reviews from critics and gamers alike. Some people have enjoyed the game while others seem to despise it, even going so far as to make threatening remarks towards the small indie team responsible for its development (this is the internet after all). I, for one, have found myself staunchly in the middle of many of these arguments. The complaints of poor gameplay mechanics and broken promises are all entirely understandable, and raise legitimate concerns about hype, over-promising, and development practices in the gaming industry overall. On the other hand there’s something endlessly fascinating about “No Man’s Sky” and the weird universe it sets you loose in with little to no direction.

The gameplay flaws present in “No Man’s Sky” are, at times, glaring. They can simply be nuisances of extreme minutiae that build overtime to make some of the in-game activities feel like chores, or they can be features that feel straight up broken and frustrating in their poor implementation. The clunky controls, mediocre user interface, and absurd redundancy seem like deal breakers. For many people, these issues have ruined the entire gameplay experience, and yet there are those who, despite it all, are able to enjoy the canvas beneath the interface.





There is a strange sense of magic to “No Man’s Sky” and its boggling digital universe of over 18 quintillion planets, all of which were formed using algorithms and procedural generation to take the input of the artists and designers at Hello Games and form it into something astronomical in scale. The concept alone is enough give those who grew up on science-fiction, whether it be literary works such as Frank Herbert’s classic “Dune” and Larry Niven’s magnificent “Ringworld” (a personal favourite), or cinematic juggernauts such as the “Star Wars” franchise, feel an undeniable desire to meander through the alien landscapes that sprawl out before them.

These planets, undiscovered until a player sets foot upon them for the first time, can be vibrant with otherworldly plant and animal life, or barren like a vast wasteland that curves endlessly past the horizon, leaving you as a lonely explorer. The art direction of “No Man’s Sky” is pulpy and pleasant, feeling like a journey across the covers of the classic science-fiction novels and choose your own adventure books of years gone by, giving itself up only to those players who allow themselves to get past the broken gameplay and simply enjoy the world itself. That, in essence, is the key to not only understanding why some people still play “No Man’s Sky” even with its dreadfully executed systems but also to understanding that while it works poorly as a video game it works fabulously as an adventure. The expressive art, adventurous music, strange and hazy lore, and brazenly vague presentation all come together to create an experience that can, for those who are open to the ideas and mysteries tucked beneath the flawed gameplay, immerse you in landscapes and lonely explorations unlike anything else.

I will not argue that “No Man’s Sky” is a great game, it simply isn’t. From a pure gameplay perspective “No Man’s Sky” is a fairly unpolished mess that finds itself emulating overplayed, often lazy tropes of the survival genre with an unintuitive user interface and a clunky control scheme to boot. Those who dislike it and feel disappointed by the lacklustre game are perfectly reasonable, but to me, that is far from the point. The argument here, rather, is that “No Man’s Sky” is the embodiment of digital wanderlust, it is a surreal experience rather than a good game. It opens up the doors of possibilities in digital entertainment and brings the pure aesthetic joy of sci-fi adventure into a new realm. For some, myself included, it is a reminder of those beautiful moments as a child where science-fiction pulled you past the screen or the page and gave you the stars to wander through and play with.

Cover Image Credit: Engadget

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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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23 Things That ~Barely~ Run Through A Girl's Mind During Her First Workout In, Like, Forever

Why did I do this to myself?

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It's the beginning of the semester and that means half of the students on campus have decided that we are going to go back to the gym after their workout routine fell through last semester. It's been months since we've stepped foot in the gym, but we are ready to attack it and get fit. That is until we get there and start going.

1. How did I get to the gym? Didn't I walk here? That should count as exercise

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7. Okay, I am going to set this at the easiest level

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14. I am literally dying right now. I am about to drop dead

15. Only 5 more minutes to go. I've got this!

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18. Last minute I'm going to go so hard right now

19. Just kidding that two seconds was good enough. I'm going to cool down for the last 58

20. Hallelujah, praise Jesus, I am done!

21. I am so tired

22. My body is so sore

23. I can't believe I have to walk home now. I've already done my exercising for the day

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