Sandboxes are for babies

| Friday, April 29, 2011
Yesterday while watching my niece I noticed the big difference between adults and children: children are smarter. Okay more seriously, children are constantly moving around, carrying stuff here and there, doing seemingly nothing but in a very determined manner. They want to change the world and they do it. In contrast adults sit at desks and do what they are told. Then they go to theme parks and stand in lines.

Children live in a sandbox world. Or at least they see it as such and try to live it as such. They explore and learn and change what they can.

Then they grow up and just go along for the ride.

Early on, children lack the concept of object permanence. It is literally out of sight, out of mind. Then they recognize that perception is not reality, so unseen objects can still exist* and go on to become obnoxious philosophers. Eventually they reach another stage of learning: object superpermanence, in which dead NPCs respawn within minutes or seconds and they have an urgent desire to get something done and are in a big rush to get there, but they aren't quite sure what. This final state is the equivalent of Alzheimer's.

Clear proof of God: we can't see Him.

4 comments:

Straw Fellow said...

I can't remember who I originally read the comment from, either Nils or Syncaine, but they mentioned the two ways people view sandboxes. Those who view it as a game don't care about the effects of their actions, and therefore PvP. Those who see it as a world don't tend to do that so often.

Regardless of the details of it, I think the comment fits in nicely with your post. Your niece sees the world and how she can interact with it, and change it, whereas the adults simply do as they please within the rules given to them. If the rules tell them to wait in line, they do. If they allow them to be vagrants, they do, but only because the rules allow it.

Makes me wonder about the visible and invisible rules that are in effect in MMORPGs, and how players abide by them to interact with the game. Like the Need/Greed rolls before the Dungeon Finder. It was an unspoken rule that you didn't roll on something you couldn't use or didn't need, because you could alienate the people on your server. Now, that rule is hard coded enforced due to the consequences being taken away.

Klepsacovic said...

I think that was Nils: worlds have murder and death, games have PvP and respawns.

I'm not sure they were unspoken so much as rarely spoken because we all remembered them. Sort of like not sneezing on other people. We do it once, our parents tell us not to, and then we don't sneeze on people anymore.

Coreus said...

I <3 you, Klep. Your brand of cynicism rarely fails to makes me smile.

Klepsacovic said...

I will have you know that cynics were once respected! Or considered trouble-makers and executed by the local rulers. One of those.

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