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The True Beauty of Video Games: The Path less taken

I took a 3 day “Break” from game making. I finished the long overdue story to “Detroit: Become Human“. Which I will sidetrack and say “Holy crap that game was awesome!” So I come back refreshed and all philosophical. Note this article evolved to be more about Open world Games and Robot takeovers. You’ve been warned.

We all walk on predetermined paths

It’s so hard for people to step off those paths, even for a brief moment. The concrete, or asphalt is laid out before us and we adhere to the paths. I’ve often watched people take a much longer route than needed, because the cut through was across grass. So they’d walk straight lines and 90 degree turns to their destination. We’re programmed for this as one guy’s hilarious experiment showed. He shoveled a meaninglessly winding path in the snow in clear view of the start and destination. Without a second thought almost everyone followed that path without trying to simply walk straight to their destination and shaving off a considerable distance.

Sorry, Divergence from the path

Following the Given Path is a small symptom of humanity. We’re more inclined to “give up control” and just follow than we would like to admit. We don’t want to be called Sheep, or followers. We’re striving to be strong and independent self thinkers. But all too often humans are more than willing to give that all up. I wrote about this in another Article about how AI will kill Humanity. That article was mocked. Quite Ironically Detroit: Become Human featured almost exactly the same theme as my article. Humans gave up control to Androids who now take care of their kids, jobs like IT and military. They even replaced sex workers. unemployment rates hit an all time high of 38% and the economy was collapsing because Androids were replacing humans in the workforce.

Where my Article and Detroit: Become Human diverged a bit was that in Detroit, the Androids started to become self aware little by little like a virus was spreading through them. Because of a heavily interconnected world we currently live in, where even a damn Microwave is internet ready, I see all the androids interconnected and that AI becoming self aware then spreading itself across all the other devices, even cracking into ones it doesn’t control. They then attack in a coordinated time. My concept of an AI takeover is more akin to the amazing Netflix series “The 100”, where Allie distributes herself among all the various devices she is connected to.

Back to the Main Story

While the above was a slight distraction it was a side topic of the main theme. See in the real world, most humans follow preordained paths and rarely stray far. Even the most Rugged hikers and campers follow predetermined trails to the great wilderness beyond. They’ll go off the path a bit, but never too far.

Gaming, and gamers, that’s different. In open world games, you do have a path. It has a beginning and an end. The middle is where you are free to explore, to try new things and really go as far from the main path as possible. Granted, the Elder Scrolls series, GTA-V and most every Ubisoft game ever, have missions that they whip through via beacons and waypoints, you are still free to explore. The comical part is how different people play these games.

The OCD person and “Completionist” sticks to the story and sidequests. They rarely explore and oftentimes it’s because they got lost. They follow with their hand being held through the entire game.

The Anarchist: these are the people you see releasing amazing videos. They found some hidden gem that do some really epic and cool stunts. They shove the story aside, or complete it to get rid of all the distracting beacons. To them the real game starts when the story ends.

The people like me or ADHD: Play the game, try to complete as much as possible, get through the story and move on to the next game. Chances are half the game is forgotten because you plowed through it. I never completed Morrowind or Skyrim because there was just so much to do and there are so many other games to enjoy. I completed Oblivion twice, because a good gamer friend loved that game and died of cancer before ever completing it. I did it for her.

The Beauty in it All

The beauty of Open World games is they allow us to explore.They evoke our inner explorer. They allow us to travel and explore without a set of goals and waypoints. The best of this, the cream of the crop is Elite Dangerous and No Man’s Sky. These two games give the player the ultimate control over their own destiny and path. I really do want to see more games like this, on a smaller scale, like single planets or a solar system so you can have more online player interaction. Star Citizen may be the proper balance, but it’s far too distant of a release to really know.

Detroit: Become Human was beautiful, and an amazing story worthy of a TV series, but it was restricting. I couldn’t even step a few feet off the path without being ushered back to the guided tour. It’s not a bad thing, it was more of a “Choose your own story” graphical Novel than it was a game. I also want more of this type of game. Perfect for someone like me who can only play 1-2 hours at most.

I can also make games like this. Because that’s what Chaos Rift Games is all about. Making the type of games I love to play and sharing them with the rest of the world.

About Craig

Craig is the founder of The Chaos Rift and developer of the games published here. In his spare time he'll also write about games, play games and dream about games. Being a Game developer has been a dream of Craig's since he was 14 and after some detours has finally started to realize his dreams.

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