Will to game: Starbound

Culture Games
Rebel commander Bill Bananas –provided (graphic)
Rebel commander Bill Bananas –provided (graphic)

As a gamer, I love the ability to create a unique personal narrative. Some games thrive on their writing and provide a compelling story for their audience, but I don’t always want to be an audience member: I want to be in the driver’s seat (It’s why I play games to begin with). Starbound is the most recent game to let me feel like my own author.

Any game brave enough to allow players to make their own choices will always mark high in my book. I have played many open-world and sandbox adventure games over the years;  The Sims, Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, Grand Theft Auto, Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and (especially) Minecraft. Each of these games has allowed me to create a unique story all my own. Still, Starbound’s breadth of worlds, monsters and dangerous situations give even the most passive player the substance for a great adventure, with just the right amount of campy sci-fi fun.

Entry 01: The journey begins

The first step in my journey was to decide who I was to become (the what would present itself later), but after cycling through option after option, a simple choice grew complex. From human, to avian, fish, plant, and robot; all of my options provided good hooks for my adventure, but only one with the right amount of sci-fi camp would do, so I began to style a highly-evolved ape-man.

With the harsh environment of space, I would need to be serviceable, honed to survive. I chose a clean military haircut and a set of officers’ fatigues. The captain of a fine starship would need to look the part, so I decorated myself with a stark gold command stripe, sure to strike fear into the heart of any savage beast. I stared at my new form, a barrel-chested rebel-military ape leader and pilot of a fine simian vessel. He needed a name that would demand respect; Bill Bananas was the obvious choice.

As my eyes opened and the world faded in, I heard the hum of an engine. I was alone, in a ship belonging to the Minikong, a fascist space-ape dictatorship. After hijacking the ship and escaping from their reach, my fuel was depleted. The ship adrift, caught in orbit around a large forest planet, I was forced to explore the planet’s surface in search of alternative fuel. I searched the ship and gathered some useful tools; a matter manipulator, flashlight, and a gnarled shard of metal fashioned into a sword. Ready to face the unknown terrain, I stood atop the teleporter, bracing myself, feeling dizzy as I was engulfed in a red light and each atom of my body was de-materialized to the world below.

For Part 2, click here.