Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Some days you just want to watch the world burn. Sometimes you want to spin the world of its axis and watch as its mass is consumed by the sun, which has just suddenly expanded to ten times its original size. Some days you just need to play Universe Sandbox.
It is what its title suggests: a sandbox simulator in which you can muck around with the universe. This includes watching planets drift along according to their accurate orbits, studying the swirl of galaxies, and marveling at the relative scale of planets much larger than our own.
It also naturally includes changing the numbers. What if the earth was ten times as big? What if two galaxies collided? What if the moon was made out of cork? The possibilities are not endless – you’ll exhaust yourself in a few hours, probably – but it produces pretty particle effects and curious what-if scenarios such that you’re likely to want to return every now and then to play with it some more.
There is also a sequel, of course, which offers many of the same thrills but with an upgraded engine and a growing number of scenarios with which to experiment. Its pleasures are similar, but I’ve spent the most time with the original.