aA year ago I tried to bond with my 17 year old over Sea of Thieves. It does not work. Since then, he has been bugging me about the Outer Wilds experience, which he claims is the most profound play experience of his life. I’m Delayed to Degrees of Hamlettesque: What Will I Do If One of His Other Favorite Games Doesn’t Call Me? Does this mean that I can no longer communicate with my son?
As I discovered last month, it can sometimes be difficult to play games in my fifties, and lowering the difficulty can reduce stress and help me have more fun. But what if you lose the patience and mental stamina that is really needed Get Some games now? Game subscription services don’t help with that. We have access to so many titles, and it’s easy to dismiss them pretty quickly due to Netflixication of our brains. We were given a lot of drunk nimble choices in the kebab shop. If I’m not in the right state of mind, it doesn’t matter how good the game is – I’ll quit playing after 10 minutes. Which is why I’m late playing Outer Wilds. It’s a very special game for my son, Charlie. I don’t want to disappoint him again.
Finally, I decided to go through with it, because he’s off to college soon and our bonding days are limited. I wandered into a small village getting ready to launch a spaceship. As the levels of cultivation went, he was both witty and eccentric. After learning the ropes, I took off, chose a planet’s destination, hit the autopilot…and crashed. Immediately. At the observatory from which I just took off. I couldn’t get to my ship to fix it, so I called my son to help.
He said, “Wow, dad.” “It’s almost impossible to crash your spaceship so soon after liftoff and leave it in an unreachable position.”
Pollux for this game, son, she declared.
“Keep it up. Amazing. Just go to the moon.”
So, I went to the moon. Some amazing things have happened. I won’t give any spoilers. But then I tried to run and jump on the moon. And they ignited my jet pack. And I ended up dead, sun-kissed. So I left.
“Sorry son, I can’t play this game. It wasn’t meant to happen.”
“Dad, this game will change your life! Try again tomorrow.”
The next day, the stress of work made me angry. I couldn’t remember the controls or what I was supposed to do. I ended up floating pointlessly, lost in space. My son appeared, because of my suppressed crying.
“Go to the ship’s log, Dad.”
I did as well.
“Maybe if you hover your mouse over one of these question marks it will tell you what to do.”
“Okay, son, so should I go to the South Pole of Brittle Hollow and check out what aliens might be building there?”
“You are could Do it,” he says, disappearing into a cloud of cologne.
me too. Just to show that I’m not intimidated by an 18-year-old’s attempts at a puzzle.
I head for what I think is the South Pole, and fall through a chasm in the middle of the planet and spit out the other end. There are fragments of things that I seem to have to move towards, but I can’t control my spacesuit to get close to them. Charlie helps me again.
He says, “It’s strange, Dad.” “Did you change the controls?”
“No! I went to the menu to remind myself of the controls, but I didn’t change it.”
Charlie goes to the menu section. I have already changed the controls. Unintentionally and unintentionally. Charlie looks at me and sighs.
“Often someone doesn’t get it wrong because they change the controls for the whole game. This is a completely new situation for me, Dad.”
This is it for me. “Well, just tell me, son. What is life-altering about this thing?”
And he sits down and tells me: It’s a story of supernovae and time loops, celestial bodies and musical harmonies, probes and sun stations, dark matter, and warp cores. It’s a tale about this superquantum collapsing and universes dying and something to do with an old grove and how “the future is always built on the past even though we couldn’t see it”. I am completely hypnotized by the words coming out of my son’s mouth. I still don’t have a clue what the game is about, but it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that he is Do. This game has expanded his mind.
I watch my son grow before me. I see how big his mind is now as he enters adulthood. Games played a role in that. This game in particular. As parents, we are used to seeing our sons grow physically stronger than us over time – but now I see my son beyond my ability to imagine. I am sad that my middle aged brain has lost this ability, but I am very proud of what my brain can and will continue to do. In this way Outer Wilds becomes the most profound game you have ever played. Even if you technically fail every single thing in it.