One Stop Discussion: No Man’s Sky

A piece of concept art from No Man's Sky. It depicts an alien world with otherworldly flora and fauna. Several spaceships ascend into a blue sky.

In the two weeks since No Man’s Sky has been released, there has been everything from outrage to adoration. The discussion has been noisy, conflicted, and loud. Moments like this are fasinating to me, moments when everyone is playing and talking about the same game. They act as a microcosm of the game industry, laying bear its weaknesses, while showing off its strengths. That discussion is invaluable, but it is important to channel the flood of opinions into a productive place. In that spirit, here are reviews, articles, and examinations of No Man’s Sky that add to the dialog. They inspired me to write better and showed me how even a negative experience can be an important one. I hope they inspire similar things for you. Happy reading!

In his review, Kirk Hamilton talks about how approach can shape experience.

In “Notes on No Man’s Sky,” Brandon Keogh lays out a great number of interesting opinions, all framed by ideas about expectation and mechanical messaging in games.

Matt Lees discusses No Man’s Sky’s mechanical failings and problems with creating player motivation… and then ends up gushing over the game anyway.

In his review, Alex Navarro postulates that No Man’s Sky taps into a human, primal desire and thus the game becomes powerful despite itself.

In “Promising the Earth,” developer Paul Kilduff-Taylor talks about hype (the mind killer) and how the video game PR system is broken.

In “The Danger of Naming,” Carolyn Petit shows how No Man’s Sky encourages you to think of its planets as places to gather resources and exploit the environment, rather than places to find real meaning.

In his review, Gareth Damien Martin illustrates the meaning of space and landscape in broader traditions and discusses how No Man’s Sky fits meaningfully into that canon.

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