So we started Hello Games’ epic space-frontier adventure game No Man’s Sky.
For those of you that don’t know, No Man’s Sky is a PS4 and PC game that allows you to explore the vastness of space hopping from planet to planet in your journey to the center of the universe.
No Man’s Sky and The Seinfeld Discussion
Seinfeld is a show about four terrible people going through life making decisions that have ripple effects with hilarious outcomes. Seinfeld is the show about nothing and No Man’s Sky is the game about nothing. Plain as day. The comparison might already be out there but No Man’s Sky really is about nothing. You jump from planet to planet making small decisions that have ripple effects, affecting the outcome of your game. But there is no point to the game. Getting to the center of the universe has no bearing on what this game is about. No Man’s Sky is about nothing and that’s okay and that is why I am comparing it to Seinfeld, one of the greatest shows ever made. Studio heads were nervous when Seinfeld came out, citing that no one would watch a show about nothing. Those executives couldn’t have been more wrong.
So we have No Man’s Sky our 2016 version of Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer packed into a space craft and shot out to the edge of the galaxy. There is no point to it. Why play it? Is it really worth $60? Will I even visit 18 quintillion planets in my life time? Do I have to force generations of my family to play this game in order to really explore its full depths? These are all legitimate concerns for a video game. By this point you might wonder, there has to be more to the similarities between the two other than just nothing, right?
Let’s look at the music for example. Every time something happens related to the story of No Man’s Sky, you get unique music signifiers. Maybe you found a new word, maybe you stumbled onto an ancient alien artifact. It can be quite similar to the impact of that memorable bass guitar. George Costanza finishing off his ‘It’s Not You It’s Me’ routine then hit the bass guitar to end the scene. Well No Man’s Sky hits you with an instrumental entry into a scene with an Alien character, you share dialogue, then finishes it off with a beautifully scored track to end the scene. The similarity is uncanny.
And what about the random acts of Seinfeldian who-ha’s? Couldn’t you picture Kramer Pulse Jumping through space in his classic brown 1983 Ford LTD only to land into an intergalactic space battle between a known government entity and pirates? Kramer would unwittingly help the pirates overthrow the government forces. He would be heralded as a hero. Looked at as a god by the pirates. Most likely say something to upset the pirates and be on his merry way after accidentally leaving some sort of explosive artifact he picked up in another galaxy behind. Just to make sure, for continuity sake, the pirates don’t come after him. Well guess what? It happened to me while I was playing and I couldn’t help but think of Cosmo.
No Man’s Sky and Seinfeld only really share it’s core concept of ‘Nothing’ but with a little spin it really does seem very similar to the show. I think that this concept for a video game is bold. I think that in order for it to be truly successful the community really has to rally behind this game. We won’t know the effect this game has on the industry until at least five years but I predict if the community stays strong, this game can change gaming the way Seinfeld changed TV