The three (and a half) reactions to No Man’s Sky

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.

Images from Hello Games’ presskit.

6 thoughts on “The three (and a half) reactions to No Man’s Sky

  1. At this point, I think No Man’s Sky has ended up being another over-hyped PS4 that should’ve delivered but didn’t. I mean, it was very suspect this game never really got a proper gameplay demonstration since it’s initial reveal (I even asked on VG Facts). The biggest problem was Sony pulling the same tactics with the Ghostbusters reboot to squall any negativity towards this game. Kind of disgusting, really.


  2. My reaction went like this:

    1. Heard about the game and about it being a Sony “exclusive”. Strike one as I have no love for Sony nor care to support them in anyway after the disaster of the PS1. Anything they touch automatically goes on the “After I finish Superman 64 1,000,000 times” pile.

    2. Heard all the weird talk about the game and stranger still how no one had ever actually seen the game in action. Mild interest peeked just because I was wondering what everyone was drooling about since no one had ever even seen it yet.

    3. Checked out a trailer on YouTube and nearly went blind from the bizarre day-glow hot-pink color scheme. I mean that. I think I might have had a seizure or something. I should sue.

    4. Sat back and waited for the fallout because whenever a game is handled the way this one was (no early game play previews, embargoed reviews, review copies withheld until launch) you know there’s something seriously wrong with it. I’ve seen the signs too many times to ignore them.

    5. Fight the urge to tell everyone that I called it months ago. Find somewhere, anywhere to post it. Preferably somewhere out of the way so it wouldn’t damage my street cred, which I don’t have.


    1. I mean I’ve always been quite interested in it. I liked the artstyle and post-rock soundtrack. I guess I was hopeful that a small indie developer could do a great game but realisticly I was expecting a niche or ‘art-house’ game.


      1. Just way too many red flags for me and of course, the entire Sony involvement thing. I can understand wanting it to really be something special since almost everything from everyone has been disappointing for the last… how many years now? But it was easy to see that it was falling into the same trap that every other popular game has fallen into recently.

        The desire of people to want something, anything to be that amazing thing that they can latch onto and say “See? This is why I game!” can be overwhelming. It’s just too risky to let that desire run wild. I mean, even though I’m absolutely certain that Zelda: BotW will be amazing, it’s better to keep my expectations in check.

        I’d rather be unexpectedly impressed than unavoidably disappointed. Almost no one seems to be able to do that any more. Just look at how often someone will swear off pre-ordering the next big thing after the last big thing turned out to be less than big only to race to pre-order the next-next big thing as soon as it’s announced.

        Pavlov would have a field day with the average current games industry customer.


  3. I was interested in the game when the trailer first hit… The fact that it was coming from an indie company, a tiny one at that, made me suspicious.
    It felt similar to the hype of Shenmue 3: it’s something to be excited about, but why is the audience the one paying for its excitement?

    Shenmue 3, a sequel to a great duo of a game series that 95% of the people hyping it up HAVEN’T PLAYED (if they did, the Dreamcast would’ve sold like hotcakes)… Being KICKSTARTED?!
    THAT’S E3 NEWS?!? No, that’s BLOG-NEWS.
    They forced the audience to pay for their own hype, and claim themselves that it’s worth buying before even holding it. Somehow the industry got the customers to advertise a product to themselves. This is the opposite way of handling word of mouth.

    How does No Man’s Sky relate?
    We’re essentially advertised a concept to get us hyped over something that pretty much didn’t exist yet, with no insurance that it would be what it was advertised to be (not even company familiarity). Instead, we were expected to fill in the blanks ourselves, and essentially told that this was a system seller – from ourselves! Sony didn’t sell us anything, we bought it from ourselves only because we were thirsty for it. It was backwards advertising. It was like sexting with a machine that we had to custom make from a (pretty but) vague set of instructions. Our invested imagination was the only thing we got off of, and we’d only have ourselves to blame.

    That said, I pulled myself away from the game and moved on. However, after hearing the game began to crash and burn with many first impressions… I started looking up gameplay videos (most of them live feeds).
    The game is a huge disappointment.
    Not to me, though.

    To everyone else: it is a massive disappointment, and everyone should rethink things if they think otherwise.
    To me? It looks like a decent indie space travel game. Not amazing. Won’t (SHOULDN’T) win any awards. But… If you just want to faff about in space and just see what there is to see: pretty good game to do that.
    Definitely worth $15-$30. $40 at most. Definitely not a $60 game.

    Sony seems desperate in selling their console. The stupid thing is: it’s working. I can’t understand why, but it is.
    Meanwhile, Nintendo at least had the decency to advertise what the Wii U honestly offers… Which most people don’t seem to be interested in buying. So it doesn’t sell.

    Liked by 1 person

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