the snug pleasure of small worlds •

the snug pleasure of small worlds •

Salvation! We’re going to start the year off with a handful of coins until 2022. Sometimes we’ll take a look at trends we’ve spotted or themes that will likely continue to define things in games for a while. Sometimes we’ll just think of things we’ve enjoyed and where they might take us. Happy New Year everyone !

I’m not sure if you’ve used any of these run tracker apps before but then accidentally left it in your pocket for a very long time and only discovered it a few days later after recording hours and hours of your aimless wandering. ? It can be quietly enlightening. A lot of us, I guess, live everyday lives that take place in a fairly limited space. Covid has only brought things closer, of course, but I know that I live a large part of my life these days in my house and then in an outdoor space bounded by two parks, a local Tesco and the sea.

Maybe it’s just me. But anyway, it certainly helps explain why I love a huge open-world game so much. All this space! All this horizon! Steep, a favorite here between the parking lots, the Tesco and the sea, gives me a whole mountain range. I never tire of going from one summit to the map. Check it out! A panoramic experience. I could never see everything, surely! I love this stuff.

But it also perhaps explains an opposite trend that I only recently noticed. That on the other hand, I am also drawn to games which are very small. Sometimes very, very small. A Short Hike is an open world game, but the world is deeply cozy. You can walk around it in a few minutes. Toem is not an open world, but its linked spaces are hardly vast. You can go from any A to any B in seconds. Why am I so attracted? Why did I spend more time in A Short Hike and Toem than in many other bigger games? Are small games – games with small worlds – on the rise? I hope. Hope the trend continues.

A short hike is a beautiful game.

I still remember the first time I played A Short Hike. I may have sat in front of the PC for about three hours, completing the main storyline and getting a feel for the location. Coming back to this territory over the months allowed me to move from exploration to something closer to understanding: I started to get an idea of ​​what the places were, of what they were doing. in their specific places and in the way the world has organically divided into natural territories. . It’s possible in any open world game, of course – one of the fascinating things about GTA 5 is the way the city seems to get smaller the more you play it, the more you understand it – but it is. a particular richness of the comfortable -globalist openness.

With a short hike, and with Toem and Alba, come to think of it, all that time in the game means I’m starting to feel something much better than ownership – almost the opposite of ownership in fact. I’m playing A Short Hike now and I feel like I’m visiting a place that’s inaccessible to me, and it’s fun. I spend so much time there, that I end up thinking of the place as I walk around, I see it as a place that is completely separate from me and what I’m doing there at the time. I suspect I do this less in big games because there is always something new to see, a new quest or mission or a new unlock that I should be aiming for, an icon that I should clear from the map. But in small worlds, you can quickly get to a point where it’s all done, so if you’re still playing, you’re playing for the sake of being.

I read something great about postcards lately – about how people should send them more, especially if they’re not on vacation. I think a small open world can be a bit like that, a bit like a postcard. He says everything in this view can be known, truly known. There is a wealth here to be experienced in a cozy space – you know, between two parks, a local Tesco and the sea.

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