How I like to play

Previously I wrote about the aesthetic of Hollow Knight, an all-time favorite game of mine. I am not a particularly active gamer, and I rarely look forward to upcoming games, but Hollow Knight: Silksong is one I am genuinely exicted for. I try not to read or think about it too much, because I want to go into the game mostly blind. But from what I can tell, I think the team is really going to outdo themselves, and I can’t wait for it to drop.

The last time I looked forward to a video game releasing was Portal 2, but this year, I actually have a couple games to anticipate. In addition to Silksong, I’m excited for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Nintendo still hasn’t given away much info about it, but I loved Breath of the Wild so much that I feel pretty confident it will be worth pre-ordering.

In Silksong you get to play as Hornet, who looks like she will have some really fun movement mechanics. Also I am 100% certain the soundtrack is going to be awesome again.
Tears of the Kingdom is based on the same map as Breath of the Wild, but they’re adding a whole bunch of new stuff including sky islands, so there should be plenty to explore. I do hope they have real dungeons this time.

Some people like to play video games for the challenges they present. Some people try to optimize the effectiveness of their play in quantitative ways, as seen in min-maxing or speedrunning. I enjoy challenges, but I find the proposition of optimization-as-play pretty onerous. It’s definitely not my idea of fun to have to figure out how to do a narrowly-defined task perfectly.

If you’re familiar with the titles I mentioned above, you might be able to get a better idea of how I like to play. I enjoy open-ended exploration, where you can take many paths through the game world and always be rewarded. With exploration, not everything you do will be tied to concrete objectives. Instead, the gameplay and the way you express yourself through it is its own reward.

Really, exploring is actually just one of my favorite things to do in real life, too. I love visiting places I haven’t been before, seeing new things, mapping them out in my mind, stitching together a new part of the world in my mind. When I can get out and about, I find real-world exploring far more rewarding than the video game equivalent. But it’s nice to have alternatives during the long winters up here. And there’s also a value to the novel and fantastical elements that a game world can bring to the table.

While I still find replay value in revisiting my favorite game worlds from time to time, there’s nothing quite like the first time you get to explore a game. That’s one unavoidable problem with exploratory video games, no matter how big and open their worlds are: eventually you mostly exhaust them, and while they might still offer some fun and good vibes, they don’t necessarily offer that same sense of mystery and wonder anymore. That’s why I’m glad they’re making sequels to Breath of the Wild and Hollow Knight. I think both are going to recapture some of the magic of the originals, and hopefully bring some of their own, new magic as well.

Have you played Hollow Knight or Breath of the Wild? Are you looking forward to their sequels? Are you looking forward to any other video game sequels? Do you enjoy exploration in games or real life? Let me know your thoughts at my Ctrl-C email: gome ​@ ​