Exploring Virtual Worlds

I just thought of this recently and this can partly be inspired by the uptick early in the pandemic with liminal spaces and gaming. I remember being a kid and just popping in random games that I had already completed/ beaten just to walk around it as the main character. One big experience I had was with Paper Mario. You could get right to the final battle and then backtrack and have the whole world to explore, albeit barren in a few areas. Just riding the train to and fro is such a memorable experience to me.

I am curious if anybody else has memories such as these with different games or has any thoughts on the subject.

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I like to stand on this one particular hill outside Hateno Village in Breath of the Wild when it’s windy and just listen to the wind blow by. Actually there is a screenshot of the spot in my review of Breath of the Wild. I also love the trek back to my house from that hill, especially as it starts to rain. I like to sit under the tree by the fire while it rains. Lastly, I like to simply sit and enjoy the goings on in Tarrey Town, stay in the inn for a few nights and generally pretend I’m on vacation when I’m there.

I enjoy sailing the Echo River in Kentucky Route Zero without a particular destination in mind. I just sail The Mucky Mammoth round and round listening to the space of the underground river.

In Chrono Trigger I enjoy visiting the Kingdom of Zeal and try not to rush through that section of the game just to experience the floating city through a sense of melancholy, for what has been denied the surface dwellers, and for what will shortly be lost. I also like to visit the end of time and simply enjoy the nothingness, and the occasional rematch against Spekkio.

I like to visit Myla a lot during the first few chapters of Hollow Knight. I sit with her, watch her chip away at the rocks, and wish I could join her in singing. I wish I could convince her to leave, to come to the surface and give up her quest for wealth. I stayed a long time the last time I played, and I’ve even started a new game in the past simply to visit her because once I leave I can never go back. I did that once and I wish I hadn’t.

No Man’s Sky is a feast of strange and wonderful places to simply exist in and explore. It’s always a treat when I return.

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I wish I could move to a virtual world, for obvious reasons

Anyway, I feel like I’ve surely done that, but not too much recently
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Uru: Ages Beyond Myst is a big one in regards to exploring strange digital world’s for me. Even though I’ve explored them countless times, I still go back to those worlds.

If you’d like to give it a go (and I highly recommend it), you can do so for free!

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I used to love just exploring in Final Fantasy IX back in the day, just hopping in an airship and booting around for a while to check out the world, stopping on random islands where you’d have no reason to be there, accidentally getting wrecked by Yans. It was a great time.

I also know Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls like the back of my hand due to endless, aimless, exploring and revisiting areas, looking for secrets and just hanging around. Exploring the Nexus will always be ingrained in my mind, that music is too chill!

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I have to add Sable to my list. I’m literally just sitting in the desert at this very moment as I write this, enjoying the music and watching the time pass as the sun sets and rises again. It’s pure and serene and I love it.

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That game has been one of the most conflicting games for me in the past year. I love it, truly and have completed it with getting all of the Chum eggs, and costumes/ gear. I have also booted it up just to hang out, but when I was playing it, I experienced a lot of technical issues: slowdown, tearing, extreme framerate drops, my bike disappearing and not respawning, etc which put a damper on my enjoyment. Has it been thoroughly patched as of yet? I’d like to get back into it just to bum around.

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Which platform? I had some issues at launch on Xbox, some of which were patched out as I played it. Primarily some frame choppiness and the bike not coming when I call it. But so far, on Steam Deck, the game plays beautifully. I set the game to ply at 60fps but dropped the refresh rate and console frame-rate to 40, which is doing wonders for a smooth feeling game. I think they did add new features for the one year anniversary so maybe also pushed out some additional fixes, I’m not really sure.

Edit: actually they did patch in some fixes during the anniversary week:

Sable Anniversary Week Update

Bug fixes

  • Fixed an issue that caused Sable to spawn in the wrong place if the player fast travels while on a ladder

  • Fixed an issue that caused Simoon to malfunction if Sable gets off the bike while in the water

  • Fixed a bug that caused world asset streaming system to produce bigger stutters than expected when playing on high framerate

  • Fixed a bug that caused some world assets to be instantiated multiple times

  • Fixed waterfall sound to correctly stop playing on unload

  • Fixed water ripple particles

  • Fixed map markers on new game

Optimizations

  • Reworked bird animations to reduce their impact on performance

  • Reduced memory impact of terrain chunks

  • Faster occlusion culling with less memory usage

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Awesome. I was playing it on PC through the Epic Store. I’ll have to pull it up later and see if it has made a difference.

I’d recommend any of the recent Hitman games. I’ve recently been replaying them between games to pick up missed challenges. I’m really impressed with how much they were able to cram into every level, and they all look really nice, especially in the third game.

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Yes. Exploring Virtual Worlds is my everything. I started an instagram account with this exact theme, a “video game tourism bureau”. eeg_traveler • Instagram photos and videos

Also, check out the ezine ‘Heterotopias’ for a more academic take on architecture/place in video games.

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Well, in a way, Minecraft is a “finished” game at the start. You just start exploring (also mining/crafting/surviving/creating).

I love the open world procedural gen exploration. Always a new vista to discover! And otherwise it’s pretty empty, quiet, etc.

Discover an abandoned village/mine/outpost…feel like I Am Legend.

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I haven’t read all of the issues of Heterotopias yet but the articles/ pieces I did throughout so far have been so well written and really made me think about the places we get to/ choose to explore virtually and in real life. As a fan of architecture as well, reading these are a true joy. I only wish they printed them as well as provided digital copies or placed all issues in a nice collection but maybe we’ll get lucky once the 10th issue releases.

Not sure if the right topic, but has anybody here played the doom 2 mod MyHouse.WAD?

Oh, I used to do that a lot.
When I finished a platformer game such as Crash Bandicoot or Spyro, I liked to repeat the entire game in the same savedata, so I just went to every map with no other goal that a walk.

I also remember beating the 100 Battles in Pokemon Colosseum and then return to the beginning of the mountain just walking.

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Not yet. I have seen it recently but will have to check it out.

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I downloaded and installed everything again and was able to check it out. It’s pretty interesting how much time was put into creating a somewhat believable house. I’m not sure why there are demons roaming the halls, but I was able to go through it in 4:28, finding all the secrets but missing 1 enemy, apparently.

It reminds me of Anatomy by Kitty Horrorshow. I have yet to play it, but I keep meaning to as I’ve gone through 99% of their games so far and love most of them.

I would check it out and their other works if you can. I can not praise their work enough.

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