So many games these days advertise they playtime as one of the main features. “Buy this game and you will not need any other games for 2000 hours!” And while this might be true, a lot of these games are based on repeating the stuff you did at the beginning of the game over and over again, maybe with a slight twist. And there is nothing wrong with that, it’s a valid game design choice, but I wish more games would bring the sense of being desperately lost in an unknown world, constantly finding stuff you did not even imagine could ever exist in a game. The games that do that, are one of my favorites: Minecraft, Terraria, Breath of the Wild, Hollow Knight. But sadly, after playing through those games once, I was never able to bring that feeling of discovery back…
Yes, of course, you can’t find everything the game has to offer on your own on your first playthrough. But the magic of just going somewhere and stumbling upon something is, sadly, gone. I remember my first time playing Terraria, I’ve discovered it around version on mobile, and we had the time of our life with my friend just messing around with the world. We joined random people’s worlds and were wondering, how did they get a painting of an NPC head (little did we know that NPCs could live in your houses). My English was very awkward back then, and whenever a message “Santa Claus would like to settle down” appeared in the chat, I always thought that it means I should go down into the cave I was just passing. And I can’t even start to describe the horror of mining my way into the jungle for the first time, being terrified of huge hornets, and after countless deaths finally coming back home with enough jungle spores to craft a cool looking boomerang.
The caves overall were so scary and mysterious. I found some weird statues and brought them home, placed them into my basement with some purple torches I found, and they looked insanely spooky. Back then I didn’t just make a hellevator (hole) straight to the underground, instead, I had a complex root through the caves I had to memorize.
Speaking of NPCs, since I didn’t know the exact in’s and out’s of their settling mechanic, I ended up constructing a huge hotel for them, in hopes that they will like the rooms and settle down. Looking back at it, it was more of a tower to the build limit, but at least each room had a flower pot. I even put down a sign saying “we have free rooms” to convince them to stay.
Not knowing what lays ahead is such a great resource in games, and so often these days we know exactly what to expect even before opening the game for the first time. Countless wiki’s, friends, social media – the spoilers are everywhere. But I think, that no matter what, the first time you play through the game is the time when you get the most fun and adventure out of it. So don’t rush your next game, take your time with it, don’t spoil the experience for others, and hopefully in a few years, you will look back at it with quite a few fond memories!