Thursday, 18 August 2011

Sandbox Freedom

What was going to be my first attempt at a podcast is actually easier to blog about. Not least of all because (like sandbox games themselves) once on topic it can take me hours to pick apart the narrative required for the topic.

The first sandbox game that I can remember playing was GTA3. It was an entirely new sensation at the time, offering a 3D world in which to "live" as the games silent character. Hours could be spent away between missions just driving around Liberty City.

Rockstar put out newer and grander sandbox games under the GTA label on the PS2, and an epic re-imagining of Liberty City for the next gen era in GTA IV. Each new game brought with it a new and greater sense of freedom, through vehicular and activity based advances.

Then came the sandbox boom on consoles... They had more power, more disc space and with that, game worlds became mass expanses in which to play around on. I'm by no means insinuating that GTA was a leader and all else are mindless unimaginative clones however. In fact, PC gamers had The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion long before GTA IV was out.

The sandbox catalogue contains some great games that truly play to sandbox strengths, both in FPS and 3rd person mechanics. I guess the easiest thing to do here is list what is good, bad or limiting about sandboxes. However that simply won't work either. Top 3 good and bad would read identical...
Time out from story
Non linear exploration
Immersive living worlds

A podcast is still on the cards and would love to get friends involved - but if topics like this come up, I fear we may have to have people check in on us to make sure we haven't talked ourselves to death.

sent from iPhone

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