A thought I had in the shower, while soaping my nethers and conditioning my beard. I was an early teen when Frontier: Elite II came out, and I’ve been chasing it ever since. I’ve not really been looking for another Elite, though one is totally welcome. I’ve been looking for something more nebulous: the feeling of being part of an world that was ruled by experiences, not numbers. Watching an Eagle emerge from Lave station led me to cowering in the dark in Thief, listening to the guards talking. I watched dinosaurs chasing each other in Trespasser. I’m always hunting for that next incredible rock formation in Minecraft.
It still hasn’t ended: I spent a weekend modding the original Stalker, making the world feel lived in. Seeing the light spill from an NPC’s torch, knowing that I could engage them or just hide and watch them slide on past. It’s something I’ve been doing one way or another since I first heard the crunchy opening theme music. Just in a different form, in different games. I can’t imagine Elite: Dangerous will have the same impact on me as the second game, but these in-game shots do get my brain whirring about the damn game’s impact on my life.