Why Space is Such a Popular Video Game Setting

by Palabar

The games industry is worth billions upon billions of dollars, and it has expanded to encompass dozens of game genres and settings. Some of the most popular game genres include fantasy RPG (role-playing games) which let you design your character and go on an epic quest full of trolls, wizards, dragons, and more, military first-person shooters in which you take part in trench warfare, and sports simulation titles in which you play as a team with world-class athletes.

And among these is the setting of space. Ranging from 1978 arcade game Space Invaders to present-day PlayStation 4 titles, we’ve seen thousands of games take the action to the stars, including intergalactic warfare, space exploration and battles to control and colonize the stars. But just why is space such a popular genre?

Space Games Have Limitless Opportunities…

One key reason why game developers love games set in space is that they offer limitless opportunities. Whether that means creating all new galaxies, planets, and life forms or imagining what the rest of the Milky Way and its many, unexplored corners look like, there are plenty of opportunities to let their creative muscles flex. Just take Hello Games’ space exploration title No Man’s Sky as an example. Using procedural generation, it has come up with billions of planets for players to explore as well as creatures and languages. It even managed to expand on these with the No Man’s Sky Next update which adds online multiplayer and more.

…But There Are Some Familiar Concepts As Well

Having said that, players also like space due to familiar, intriguing concepts that keep them interested in space as a whole, such as spaceships, aliens, and the stars. It’s the latter that has made the Starburst online game so popular. Players of the online slot match many differently shaped and brightly colored stars including green hexagons and even a seven-point, multi-colored symbol in order to win a big payout. While this is an example of a super simplistic use of the space theme, the use of colors, the familiarity of these symbols and the focus on easy, astronomical fun helps to draw players in.

Space Can Adapt to Almost Any Genre

And finally, the space setting is such a hit because it works well with so many other genres. While games with matching symbols and space exploration are obvious options, there are plenty of other ways the setting can be used to. In fact, Ubisoft’s upcoming game, Starlink: Battle for Atlas, rolls multiple genres into one. It is both an action-adventure game and it has toys-to-life (collectible gameplay figurines) elements as well. We’ve even seen space strategy games such as Civilization: Beyond Earth which task you with colonizing the galaxy, or Dead Space which sees you blasting zombie-like enemies on an abandoned spaceship.

For decades, game developers have been coming up with new ways to make use of the space setting. And, with fans continuing to buy these space-based titles in their droves, it seems that the waterfall of space games is unlikely to slow to a trickle any time soon.

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