How A Video Game Reignited My Love For Space

Space. An infinitely expanding sea filled with asteroids, black holes, supernovas, galaxies, planets, stars, and the possibility of life outside of Earth. This captivated my imagination. My curiosity burned with the mysteries and knowledge that could be learned by simply looking up at night. I would imagine myself sometimes in my own spaceship traveling amongst the stars, punching my ship into hyperdrive, and warping to galaxies far away. Discovering new forms of life, and technology. Being at the forefront of the expedition into the Final Frontier.

Then, I got older. 

In adult life, there’s no room for childhood fantasies of space. The “important” things take over. Paying bills, going to work, and adulting are the new priority. My expedition into the Final Frontier turned into working until I could retire. 

My childlike curiosity died. The flame was gone.  

It sounds sad, but it’s the truth. What a harsh truth to come to though. The things we love and admire as kids, the things that spark our curiosity, our thirst for knowledge, are inevitably crushed when we grow up. Life, generally, has no room for such things. 

Or, so I thought. 

At the ripe age of 28, turns out I’m dead wrong. What a joy being wrong has turned out to be. 

See, Kacey and I have been looking for a new game to get lost in together – There’s not a more romantic sentence in my book right there. 

Now, this game had to meet a few qualifications. 

  1. Obviously, something we could play together.
  2. Free is always a plus, but we’ll buy it if it looks good.
  3. Longevity. A game we could sink a good number of hours into.
  4. The graphics can’t be too dated. Something modern, preferably.
  5. There needs to be some sort of gathering of resources ( “Grinding” is the video game term for this).

In the world of video games today, these qualifications, when broken up individually, are easy to find. Collectively, however, well that’s another can of worms. 

On top of that, the games that do meet these standards, Kacey and I have already spent an embarrassing amount of time in already. 

So you could say the odds were stacked against us in finding the so-called “diamond in the rough”

But, being the video game prospectors we are, we found it. 

The diamond in the rough we found is called No Man’s Sky. At first glance, kind of a weird name I will say. But a diamond, I promise you. 

No Man’s Sky met every single standard we set out to hit, and then some. 

The kicker? 

In the game, you’re a space-faring individual who sets out to explore the galaxy, discover new lifeforms and planets, and lead the expedition into the Final Frontier. Exactly what I imagined myself doing as a kid all those years ago.

And now I get to live it. 

My childhood curiosity has been unequivocally reignited from the time we’ve spent playing. So far, I’ve gotten to find a derelict ship, repair it, name it Robo Couch, slap some space-worthy upgrades into it, and fly to distant star systems in search of a planet similar to Earth to call home. Much like in real life, finding a Goldilocks planet like Earth is damn near impossible. So, we ended up settling on an icy planet and named it Wisconsin V2. 

Once a Wisconsinite, always a Wisconsinite. Am I right?

I’d say we’ve probably put a solid 30 – 40 hours into No Man’s Sky. What a blast it’s been. Literally. The majority of that time has been taking our little mining laser and blasting away copper deposits to upgrade our technology.

Outside of a few instances of the game crashing, this game has been so much fun. An absolute treat to say the least. I feel like I’m living a childhood dream every time I load in. 

In fact, after this article is finished, you bet your alien ass I’ll be hopping into my starship, Robo Couch, and exploring deeper into space.  

Now, I know damn well I’ll probably be dropping another 200+ hours into this game. Sounds like a real negative there. But there’s a positive, I swear.

Because of playing No Man’s Sky, I stumbled upon a video, actually today, that dates back a healthy 61 years ago. 

It was John F. Kennedy’s speech given at Rice University in Houston, Texas. The speech was about the United States’ initiative to send men to the moon. 

Holy, what a powerful speech he gave. A quote in particular that stood out to me was,

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

Think about it. The year was 1962. They didn’t have the technology we have today. Yet, putting men on the moon was the mission of the nation. They said, “You know what, that big ass rock in the sky there, we’re gonna put people on it.” 

And they did. 

What an unprecedented amount of dedication and grit to achieve such a monumental goal. 

I want to emphasize here that the mission of the nation, the entire nation, was to take a man on Earth, strap him in a rocket-propelled capsule, and fly him with pinpoint precision 240,000 miles to the moon. Simply because they believed they could. Just because going to the moon was hard didn’t mean it was impossible. 

Sure, there’s certainly an argument against investigating space and exploring the Final Frontier. There always will be. Call me ignorant, but I don’t buy any of it.

To me, the people who don’t want us to explore space and learn what lies deep within the cosmos are no different than the kings and queens who were against explorers sailing the vast oceans in search of new lands. 

Guess what, without those explorers, new land would never have been found. 

Space is this generation’s ocean, much like it was generations before. 

So why not keep sailing? 

We’ve made so many new discoveries and advancements in technology because of the desire of few to navigate the unknown reaches of space. 

To me, that’s what space represents: Discovery. 

That’s what humans are wired to do, and that’s what evolved us to where we are today. 

In a society trending to always look down, don’t forget to look up. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll see. 

P.S. I highly recommend you watch the speech I mentioned above. What I would give to have been in the audience that day…

P.S.S If you’re interested in nerding out about space, I highly highly recommend you watch this 3 part series on Youtube. A very untraditional way of viewing space. Your socks will be blown right off. 

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