In Sandbox, Eve is King
It has evolved my gaming interest such that I compare everything else to it. To limit it with the label “game” seems a disservice, but that I think is just because it is at the cutting edge of where entertainment is headed.
Why should anyone really care about a game?
I would argue that Eve has the best virtual economy in the world. I think working within in it and studying it provides real world value. I feel like playing the Eve Market has taught me more about real world economics than any economics class I took in high-school or college.
Early on in my eve career I cared a bit about the politics within the game. This mirrored my interest in politics in the real, and I gained experience in the virtual that I applied in the real, especially with regard to leadership and facilitation.
I haven’t played much this week, but the few hours I have were very rewarding.
An excerpt from my post about it on Eve forums:
We’ve picked up a friendly Ishtar and are feeling pretty comfortable. I remind everyone to watch for the frigate blob and to “fly your own ship” one of our alliance mantras, which means it is the pilot’s responsibility to be aligned, watching d-scan, etc etc. We generally don’t have a single FC orchestrating a fight, but rather a chaotic symphony of point calling and other relevant information.
For all it’s arguable benefits, I still play because it’s fun.
Nothing but a sandbox game can get my heart pounding, and nothing but Eve can cause me to shiver with adrenaline almost every time I play.
I also play because it keeps me in a sci-fi writer’s mindset.
I’ve just published a sci-fi book. I played a lot of Eve around my writing times, and I think it helped keep me in space. I also specifically modeled some of the in-story military communications on the sort of conversing I hear on my Eve alliance comms.
I think sandbox will replace everything.
In the fictional future of my book, linear gaming and passive videos aren’t created with enthusiasm anymore. It is all sandbox focused.
No virtual sandbox? Let’s play outside.
My characters are in a spaceship with virtual reality limited or cut off as the result of a complicated power struggle. It is a harsh adjustment for many to be stuck with reality and ancient media that I call “backtime vids”.
Their habitat is spacious and full of distractions. The crew adapts just fine, and they don’t revert to the TV and gamer zombie life that exemplified pre-sandbox living. Screen time is equivalent or even less than what is typical in our current day.
I’ve decided that my story takes place after more than half a millennium of sandbox focused entertainment that is only then followed by near a century of restricted virtual sandbox access. With this set up I see a culture far removed from the traditional couch potato lifestyle of my youth that featured Saturday morning cartoons and late night Nintendo marathons.
The vacuum created by the absence of gyme for the spaceship crew is only partially filled with what entertainment options remain. They have access to a nice collection of ancient media, but they don’t have an Eve Online or Robocraft.
It has replaced the much more linear Warframe as my go to quick fix.
Social animals want social games.
Nothing is more social than a sandbox game.
I think this helps explain why video games are evolving into something attractive enough to challenge sport’s entertainment.
In my son’s lifetime I expect the switch will happen
I may live to see virtual life become reality, but I don’t think it will be the envelopment I foresee for the following generation. I’m not being an alarmist. Though I fear stagnation, I am still an optimist and I think the sandbox life can be defined simply as another step in the social evolution of our species.