Tag Archives: Science Fiction

No Player’s Sky: A Meditation on Gaming and the Role of Narrative

It would seem that no game could possibly live up to the pre-release hype of No Man’s Sky.

So argues Nathan Grayson over at Kotaku, pointing out that while Hello Games promised (and failed to deliver on) quite a few things, they never promised “The Ultimate Video Game.” Rather, it was the players who promised that one to themselves–and when it didn’t show up in their Steam library, they were quite upset.

Of course, ‘upset’ might be putting it a bit lightly. At the time of release, No Man’s Sky boasted over two hundred thousand concurrent players; after two months, just over one thousand players–a measly 0.5% of the original player count–can be found on the game at a time. Recent reviews are totaled as “overwhelmingly negative,” placing the game within the bottom-most qualitative tier on Steam. I would cite some other games which have warranted this ranking, but none are worth mentioning–and that is possibly the biggest indicator of the sort of game we are talking about; it is ranked with the games which no one speaks of, which no one knows anything about.

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Cray-zy Thoughts

A couple of weeks ago, my ten-year-old daughter asked me a question that put me in a weird state of mind. She asked, innocently enough, “Was there anything you really wanted when you were a kid?”

“Yes”, I said. The answer came quickly, and I said the first thing that came to my mind. “ A Cray XMP supercomputer.” Yes, I was a weird kid. (I also wanted my own scanning electron microscope, among other things…)

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What if’s

Since the beginning of time, humans have created stories about the way the world around them works. If they couldn’t figure it out on their own by observation and experimentation – the best time to grow food is planting in the Spring and harvesting in the fall – they created a story about why things seem to work the way it does – why does the weather get cold for 6 months out of the year? Hades, Demeter and the pomegranate.

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