The Thrill of the Unknown: Why We Play Video Games to Explore

We play video games for a variety of reasons. Some people play to escape reality, some people play to socialize, and some people play to explore. For many of us, exploration is a key element in why we continue to play video games.

The appeal of exploring in video games

A sense of wonder and curiosity is hardwired into our DNA. It’s what drives us to explore the world around us, both in the physical sense and in the virtual sense. The appeal of exploring in video games comes from the fact that we can do so without any risk to ourselves. We can explore places and worlds that we could never visit in real life, and we can do so without having to worry about things like weather or injury.

Whether it’s the vast open world of a game like Skyrim (c’mon, we’re all still playing it, aren’t we?), or the intimate halls of a game like Resident Evil 7, there’s something about exploring in video games that can be truly captivating. There’s a sense of wonder that comes with uncovering new areas and secrets, and a sense of satisfaction that comes from piecing together the game’s lore. It’s an essential part of many peoples’ gaming experience, and it’s something that keeps players coming back for more.

Why exploration is important

Over the past decade or so, there’s been a big push for open world games (and microtransactions, but we’ll leave that one here). Games that are more about exploration and less about following a linear path. And it’s not hard to see why. Exploration is one of the most important things we do as humans. It’s how we learn about the world and ourselves. And it’s something that can be done in video games in a way that’s unique to the medium.

Exploration can be done in a number of ways, from simply walking around and taking in the sights, to using special abilities to traverse the environment. Regardless of how it’s done, exploration is usually a key part of the gameplay experience.

The future of exploration in video games

With the technological advances of recent years, video games have become more realistic and detailed than ever before. However, this does not mean that the future of exploration in video games is limited to what can be realistically represented on a screen. In fact, there are many ways in which developers can create new and innovative ways to allow players to explore virtual worlds.

One example of this is the use of procedurally generated content.  Procedurally generated content has been a staple in video games for decades, but it has really moved to the forefront of a developers arsenal in more recent years. Most early examples of procedurally generated content can be found in roguelike games, where the player is tasked with exploring a randomly generated dungeon. In recent years, procedurally generated content has been used in a variety of games to create unique experiences for the player.

One of the most popular examples of procedurally generated content can be found in the game No Man’s Sky. The game features an entire universe that is procedurally generated, meaning that each star system and planet is unique. This creates an unparalleled level of exploration for the player, as they can discover new things on every planet they visit.

Another great example of procedurally generated content is in the game Minecraft. The world of Minecraft is created entirely from blocks, which are placed randomly.

Another example of how developers can create new and innovative ways to explore virtual worlds is with the use of virtual reality. Video games are no longer just about sitting in front of a screen and pressing buttons. With the advent of virtual reality, gamers can now immerse themselves in their favorite games like never before.

VR is changing the way we play video games. And it’s not just for hardcore gamers either. VR is becoming more and more popular with casual gamers as well.

It allows gamers to feel like they are actually in the world they are exploring.  Rather than peering through a window into the world via a monitor or TV, when players have a VR headset on, they feel complete immersed in the universe they are exploring.

Written by Dorothy Jones