Must-play games. They seem to have been coming out more regularly than ever over the last few years. For many gamers, this causes a key problem. Do I pick it up ASAP, or finish what I've got now and try to avoid all the coverage of the new release? For me, however, this hasn't been an issue. It has been a reliable relief because I have been, until recently, an ending avoider.
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I love games, and I only have time for games I love. If I am going to plough time into a story or skills test, I am not going to have my time wasted. This is what causes me to avoid completing them. Once I have completed them, I am done. The game is gone. Just a commemorative display piece. The virtual world I have become obsessed with will be no more, and that truly disturbs me.
There is a single-digit list of games I have played more than once, and that honour has been saved for games where I feel the deep yearn to experience again. Unfortunately, for a real length of time I haven't found a game which demands my attention after a first play through. They have either been a clear narrative, which I see to completion, or far too long to even consider repeating (think Witcher 3 or Fallout 4 for this category).
Thankfully, this lack of replay appeal has given me no reason to avoid picking up a new game when it comes out. Instead, this has given me a reason to avoid seeing the end credits roll on my latest gaming passion. Just when I begin to feel the anxiety of saying goodbye to a world or character, I can purchase the new blockbuster and button mash my cares away.
I can live safe in the knowledge that I can always go back and complete a game at an indeterminate point in the future (normally holidays or bank holidays). Using escapism for escapism? You bet I have been.
This year though, I have avoided this dangerous cycle. I have played every Uncharted game on a home console, and am an avid fanatic for anything Drake; Haven't played Uncharted 4. I finished Dark Souls and the DLC; Haven't played Dark Souls 3. This isn't because I don't want to. I do. I so do. I painfully do.
Instead, I have worked on completing the games I have. There are a number of reasons for this: money, my newish status as a father, and the lack of real innovation in the gaming world. The AAA titles all seem to be sequels or frankly unoriginal. Fun, but not rewarding enough to earn my attention.
No Man's Sky will break this. Witcher 3, MLB 16, NBA 2K16, Gone Home, and Furi will all take a back seat while I delve into a digital universe. Why? It's different. It's inventive. It isn't just a re-skin of another game. For those not in the know, No Man's Sky sees you start as a stranded explorer on a random planet in an entirely procedurally generated universe. Every planet, plant, animal, fauna and flora you experience has been created in game because you were there.
It wasn't made and waiting for you. It exists because you saw it. If you turn left, and not right, entire worlds and existence just won't be there. What you see and experience will be unique to you. Furthermore, you can then sell any resources or discoveries you make so that others can then share in your findings. You will shape the content others see. Real player importance. This originality, with the game needing me and the other players, is a gripping concept. Enthralling enough to drag me from my focus.
No Man's Sky's lack of limits is helping to pull me beyond the limits I have unconsciously set myself. And that's praise.
Are you excited for No Man's Sky? Do you have a gaming confession to get off your chest?
Let us know in the comments below!
No Man’s Sky is a game about exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated galaxy, coming to PS4 on August 9th in North America and August 10th in Europe, and on PC worldwide on August 12th.