Are you nostalgic? Do you like to bring up fond memories of games you played? Worlds you have visited? like they were that one awesome summer holiday trips “oh remember back when..” or “ooh i miss that time”
On rainy days, or when i’m in a train looking out the window. In my head i like to revisit some of the places i have been. campsites, amusement parks, festivals, raptures, capital wastelands, liberty cities.
Here’s my top 3:
GTA Vice City: I remember the palm trees, the nice weather and the gorgeous sunsets. But most of all i remember the endless cruising on a stolen motorbike wearing just some kaki pants,flip flops and a hawaii shirt: Total freedom.
Fallout 3: Probably so etched because i played it so much. All the small communities, The landmarks, The endless interconnecting subway system and always something to explore on your horizon. When you think about it a barren wasteland is actually not a place you want to be at all. Not for real.
Shadow of the Colossus: Get this, an wide open space with a minumum of buildings, no lush wildlife, no one to talk to. zero enemies (bar the Colossi) and nothing to destroy! And yet one of the most interesting worlds to explore and arguably the most beautiful.
These games have one thing in common, set in open 3D environment. I have played Full Throttle, Okami, The Sims, Plants vs Zombies, Braid etc and had much fun doing so but i don’t remember them as much as i do with the games above. That because i dont remember them as if i were there. And in gaming there is such a thing as being there. Open 3d worlds take up a space in your memories different from all the other games.
Some years ago i went on a trip to New York but before that i accidentally played GTA 4. And when i was in that city, i actually roughly knew my way around and it felt like i came back instead of being there for the first time. It all felt so familiar.
I like to think of this when i make my games. How people feel during play is one thing but how will they remember it? I tried to build a place like that once. I graduated in environment design by making a game of a deserted island where there was almost nothing to do except walking around. It was called Wandergates.
Although there were a lot of flaws and the game is never released. (you can see it if you ask for it) the exploration and world visiting bug is nested deep deep deep inside my head. I want to make a game that people will remember as a place they’ve been some day.