No Man’s Sky

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I won’t ever forget the first time Wyatt and I came across an alien creature in No Man’s Sky. I wanted nothing more than to feed the creature and be friends. Wyatt had other plans. Once he got a hold of the controller, he blasted the creature with a death ray. ZAP! Moments later, the creature was gone.

The other alien animals around us started to run. We had blood on our hands.

“Why did you do that!?!”

Wyatt giggled, surprised that I was so angry at him for blasting the creature.

Quit Game? Yes, please.

No matter what type of game developer Hello Games promised to deliver, No Man’s Sky was a dream waiting to implode. Early trailers hinted at space travel that would allow the player to:

  • See a planet
  • Fly down to said planet’s surface
  • Land / Explore gorgeous environments brimming with life
  • Take off
  • Do it all over again

A blackhole of expectations soon formed in the gaming sphere. Hype morphed No Man’s Sky into the second coming of space simulators. The greatest space exploration game ever made.

Expectations are savage beasts. Release day revealed No Man’s Sky to be a survival game with heavy resource collecting. Disappointed gamers didn’t know what they were playing on their TV screens. Hello Games had failed gamers, everywhere, or so the Internet said.

50 First Dates

After our initial creature disaster, Wyatt and I stayed away from No Man’s Sky for months. In the meantime, Hello Games continued to release patches for the game. One of the patches added a Creative Mode. MineCraft is all about Creative Mode, No Man’s Sky should be just as fun, right?

Creative Mode presented us with options to build any of the game’s units. We first built a space base with twisting and turning corridors. There was no logic to our design, we were having fun. After we tired of base building, we discovered that we could build vehicles. Oh yeah! We drove the various rovers as hard as we could, launching them off of cliffs and trying to blow them up. The Creative Mode was fun while it lasted.

The Update

Months passed. 9 months to be exact. I heard about the Atlas Rises update changing the game for the better. Wyatt and I popped the disc in once again. Outside of prompts telling the player what to do next and a text log story, not much had changed. The core pacing is still the same. Which means the pacing is slow. Travel, whether on foot or in a ship, takes too long. The sprint feature exhausts too quickly. If space is this boring, I can see why the United States hasn’t returned to the Moon in decades.

Wyatt’s Thoughts:

I liked:

  • Exploring the planets.
  • Flying around in the spaceship.
  • Shooting the asteroids in outer space.
  • Trying to get the plutonium, other minerals, and stuff.
  • In Creative Mode: That I could drive around in vehicles.

Bottom Line:

My friend Josh has viking funerals, for games, all the time. He’ll delete the game from his hard drive and then remove the game from his house. I’m there. In fact, I’ve already gotten rid of the game.

In the end, I applaud Hello Games for embracing such a massive and ambitious concept for their first game. All the bones of a good game are present. But Hello Games shot for the Moon with No Man’s Sky and missed. Here is hoping that they learn to let go and try new things. Game patches do not always make perfect.

wavesplinter1/5 – Don’t waste your time.

Wave SplinterTitle: No Man’s Sky
Developer: Hello Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4
Reviews on: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $39.99

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NIrV Minecrafters Bible

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The NIrV Minecrafters Bible is a Biblical recipe mixing faith and fandom. This Bible features a solid hardcover to hold up against any Creeper or Zombie attack. The New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) makes for an easy read. 24 Minecraft-themed pages highlight Biblical stories and offer short in-game objectives to complete.

Minecraft Samson

But all is not well at the Minecraft Crafting Table. Missing ingredients such as:

  • Durable pages
  • Helpful reading plans
  • Highlighted verses
  • Daily Devotions
  • Chronologies/Maps

All reveal a subpar product. A quick cash-in that shows no respect to the Biblical reader nor respect to the player. Zondervan is selling a plain no-frills Bible with a minimal (24 page) Minecraft makeover.

Minecraft Jesus

Zondervan should have gone the extra mile. Including actual study material and embracing Minecraft through trivia and in-game tips. If done well, this could have been an amazing tool. Instead, the NIrV Minecrafters Bible is a damaged wood sword. Beckoning clueless parents and grandparents to pick it up.

Save your money. Invest in something that will last and further real life and in-game adventures.

I was given a copy of this book by BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Understanding Minecraft through Cooperative Play

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Over the weekend, Wyatt and I played Minecraft for a couple of hours. Straight. I’ve never really understood the game. Sure, I get that it is virtual LEGOS. You can dig caves, build forts, the imagination is the limit. But I didn’t understand Minecraft until I played it co-op with my son.

We started our play session separated from one another. I worked on a castle; Wyatt worked on a village/farm. Eventually we figured out that the game has an in-game map. We found each other!

Wyatt begged me to come see his village. So I did. But my castle called to me, come finish me! So I left. Wyatt followed. My castle soon became a joint creation, our castle. Glowing pumpkins, emerald blocks, materials I would never choose, the boy placed with relish.

Playing the game cooperatively, split-screen, allowed us to create our own in-game narrative. Our creations telling the story of a seven-year-old and a thirty-five-year-old living in a block-filled land.

We have built great things together. Cooperatively, through the magic of Minecraft.

I finally understand.

Wyatt (top screen); Me (bottom screen). Built a tower of light.

Sky Bridge

Wyatt (top screen); Me (bottom screen). Built an epic sky road that spans to a distant mountain.

Potty Bricks – Minecraft: Story Mode

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Wyatt and I have yet to delve into the blocky depths of full blown Minecraft. The first-person shooter (FPS) control scheme and complex user interface (UI) are obstacles. Barriers that have kept us from moving beyond the demo.

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Telltale Games recently released Minecraft: Story Mode. The game received an Everyone 10+ rating for “Fantasy Violence” and “Mild Language”. I visited the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s (ESRB) website to verify rating and descriptors.

esrb ratings symbol for e10 games

EVERYONE 10+Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

  • Violence – Scenes involving aggressive conflict. May contain bloodless dismemberment
  • Language – Mild to moderate use of profanity

The ESRB site fails to illuminate exactly what I am putting in front of my son. What does “Mild Language” mean? Common childhood words such as: Jerk, Stupid, Buttface? Or are we moving into the territory of: Hell, Damn, and Ass?

Story Time: When Wyatt was still learning how to talk, he started saying the word “dammit”. Now he wasn’t around other kids at the time. My wife and I watched what we said around him. But this was his favorite word. Even after telling him not to use it, he would mutter it under his breath when angry. Kind of funny looking back. Kids repeat what they hear. Even if the parents can’t figure out where they are hearing it.

Nebulous content descriptors are a poor tool. So I decided to go to a source I could trust, I talked to my friend Josh, who had recently played the game. Josh told me that there are instances of:

“What the hell.”

“Freaking.” A lot.

My wife and I have a decision to make on this game. Do we allow it in our home? Are we ready to let our 6 year old hear things above the school playground? I’m not sure. Each family has to decide what they let into their home. Even if it is as minor as a little freaking hell.

Check out Josh’s video on the game below.