No Man’s Sky is engulfing the gaming zeitgeist at the moment with every message board and news website drenched in discussion of the procedurally generated space exploration game. In this desperate attempt to get Pietriots badly needed clicks by posting about something topical, I’ll oversimplify the issue by distilling it down to what are essentially the only three responses the game has evoked. In fairness, the reaction to any game can be distilled down to the same three but the absurd about of hype around No Man’s Sky has amplified the effect. It is impossible to have a neutral opinion on this game, so, which category do you fall in?
1. The satisfied gamer
They’re are plenty of people who are supportive of No Man’s Sky and vocally defend the game and the developer on internet battlegrounds. This group though can be split into two subgroups.
1.1 The genuinely satisfied
There are no doubt plenty of gamers out there who went into No Man’s Sky and got exactly the experience they were after. Maybe some things fell short of their expectation, maybe a few things were not as they hoped for but overall they are enjoying the game.
1.2 Gamer with choice-supportive bias
Choice supportive bias is when you have invested so much into a choice that your brain justifies the decision made to avoid cognitive dissonance. In this case, the choice was to purchase and play No Man’s Sky and there are many people who have invested so much emotionally into the game, not to mention $60, that the stress of not enjoying the game would cause extreme mental discomfort. It is a form of self delusion. These are the sort of mentally damaged individuals who would DDoS a site in retribution for a middling review.
It can be hard to tell the difference between these group. As a rule, 1.2 will tend to be louder and more desperate in their defence of the game than 1.1. All satisfied gamers themselves will all claim to be part of 1.1. Only after deep reflection, possibly years later, will those in 1.2 begin to recognise and come to terms with their self deception. Much in the way many people like me now feel about Spore.
2. The disappointed gamer
The disappointed gamer is someone who doesn’t suffer from choice-supportive bias. They made similar emotional and finacial investment into No Man’s Sky but created the opposite situation; one where no product, no matter how good, could live up to their expectations. For them, every failing of No Man’s Sky, real or perceived, is magnified to the point where the game is a travesty. This is what I experienced with Battlefield 3.
The general consensus of the disappointed gamer is that the game lacks content and or features that people thought it would have. The unique marketing around No Man’s Sky, from vague developer interviews to the eerily non-descript name itself, fostered a sense of wonder through ambiguity. Details on the game were always hard to come by and people begin to fill the blanks with their own hopes and dreams. Hopes and dreams that were never going to be realised by a tiny indie development team with one mobile motocross game to their name. These people only have themselves to blame.
3. The troll
And of course there are heaps of people just here to troll. People who fan the flames of the nerd drama unfolding over the game. You might think that you don’t care about No Man’s Sky and are not are troll, you are wrong though because you read this article. This article should be considered a troll, especially from my implication you were too stupid to handle your own emotions if you fit into category 1.2 or 2. Much like No Man’s Sky, I am too smart for you to understand or appreciate.