So generally, I find myself doing game news, reviews, insights, whatever, but sometimes I like trying my hand at something different. So without further ado, let’s poke our heads in the sand and see what we find.
Sandbox-the term for video games where the player can move freely through a virtual world and is given considerable freedom in how and when to approach particular objectives and less linear structure in their gameplay than other video game styles. Now generally, open-world games still enforce many restrictions in the game environment, either from technical limits or in-game limitations put there by the developers. The main appeal of open-world gameplay is that they provide a simulated reality and allow players to develop character in the direction they choose. In that case, often times there’s no concrete goal or end to the game(there is but there’s not, depending on how you see it and like playing through the game). Role-Playing Games(RPGs) follow a similar concept but may not fit the criteria of open-world games.
The open castle exploration of action adventure game Adventure(1980) for the Atari 2600 is considered by many to be the forefather of sandbox games although nothing is technically official. Several early games went on to influence the greater recognized games; like 1984’s Seven Cities of Gold did for Sid Meier’s Pirates!(1987); Hydlide’s(1984) open-world design and rewarding of exploration would go on to influence The Legend of Zelda(1986), and we all know how that franchise turned out. Zelda brought about expansive and coherent open-world design which many other games took to heart and ran with.
The first open-world 3D action-adventure game was Mercenary(1985). Wasteland in 1988 featured gameplay where player’s actions have permanent and persistent effects and offering the player the option of tackling guests in any order, many with different possibilities. Nintendo’s Super Mario 64(1996) was revolutionary with its analog stick and camera controls along with open-ended free-roaming worlds.
Other prime examples: Legend of Zelda’s Ocarina of Time and Majoras Mask, Midtown Madness and cult classics Banjo-Kazooie(1998), Donkey Kong 64(1999), and Banjo-Tooie(2000), all three by Rareware. Sega’s Shenmue(1999) is seen as the precursor for games such as Grand Theft Auto franchise, Fallout 3 as well as Sega’s Yakuza series.
Some of the greatest games in our time are influenced by this ever-evolving video game style. Next time I’ll wrap up this small series for you by getting you a glimpse of what the 21st century did for sandbox games. Till next time!