Red Dead or No Man's Sky: The Struggle is Real

Red Dead Online campChilling at camp in Red Dead Online

One of the struggles of being a gamer is deciding which game to play with your limited free time.  Ever since the update to Red Dead Online, I have been spending most of my gaming time playing that.  Whether by myself or with friends, I always love a good RDO session.  I spent eight years playing Red Dead Redemption, hoping that there would someday be a sequel, and I was not disappointed.

However, as enticing as running with a posse in the old west might be, the recent update to No Man’s Sky has shifted my interest.  I still logon to RDO every day and do at least one daily challenge to keep my streak going (today is day 55), but the rest of my game time over the past two days has been focused on No Man’s Sky, warping from system to system in search of resources and habitable planets.

I’ve been with No Man’s Sky since the very beginning.  It was part of what influenced my decision to switch to PlayStation after years of Xbox gaming.  My then-boyfriend (now-husband) and my youngest brother also influenced the decision, but No Man’s Sky had been on my radar since I first caught a glimpse of it during E3’s broadcast years ago.  I knew it was going to be a PS4 exclusive, so that helped me make the decision on which system to buy.

Like most people who bought the game in the beginning, I was quite frustrated with all the bugs.  I can’t even count how many times the game crashed on me.  I hoped it would not be another instance of a game developer just taking their profits and abandoning fans.  I’ve seen far too much of that in all my years of gaming.  Fable III is the one that hurt the most—80 dollars and they never did improve the game.  Unless that was how they intended it in the beginning.  I truly loved that series and thought the world of Peter Molyneux, and he let me down.  The same would happen years later with Todd Howard and Fallout 76.  But I digress…

It is quite refreshing to have a developer stand by their games and actually improve them, which is exactly what Sean Murray and Hello Games did.  They fixed the bugs and kept adding content.  And unlike many other developers, they have released all new content for free.  It’s four years later and many of us are still drawn back to the game whenever they release a new update.  It keeps it from feeling stale and always adds some new gameplay mechanics.  I remember back when you couldn’t even build a base.  I had found the perfect planet to call my home, but you couldn’t yet build anything.  When they did add bases, you had to find a habitable base to use as a starting structure.  Unfortunately, my lovely planet, “Cerulean Fields,” was changed during one of the major updates and no longer was filled with the beautiful blue fields and red birch trees that made me want to call in my home.

While it is upsetting when an update messes up the landscape views or the wildlife of a planet you have come to love, it does force some of us to travel the universe in search of another place to call home, even if it’s only until the next update.  The teleportation system was a much-appreciated addition that finally allowed us to leave a star system without the fear that we might never find it again.  The base building feature let us put down roots on multiple planets so we can forever return to them.  Sometimes I just want to go back to see the landscape again.  Other times, I want to collect valuable resources on that planet.

The wonderful thing about this game is that we can play it the way we want, whether that is spending hours on a small handful of planets to discover all species, or jump from star system to star system looking for a particular combination of colors, planets, lifeforms, and so on, or follow the story missions, or even follow the path to the core.  Hello Games has given us the biggest sandbox ever to play in: an entire universe to build, research, and just enjoy.

Sadly, my beautiful Cerulean Fields appears to be lost to the cosmos.  It no longer exists in my discovery log, or at least not under that name.  I might have found it in my list of planets and star systems, but to return there would take too much time, and I know it is no longer as it looked when I called it my home.  The atmosphere has changed and the colors are different, now appearing red instead of blue.  No Man’s Sky is about exploring, and so I will move forward and cherish the memories I have of those blue fields where the vicious cat-dog creatures romped and the skies that were speckled with flying fish.  I have now settled on a new planet filled with glowing golden grass, varying colors of mushrooms that light up at night, and vibrant clear blue oceans.  Remembering my time in Skyrim, I could think of no better name for this new planet than “Goldenglow.”  For now, this is my primary home in the Hello Games universe.

At least, until the next major Red Dead Online update.

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