Outer Wilds - a solar system trapped in a time loop.

When you were a kid did you check under your bed at night for planets or stars?

Also prepare to not sleep tonight.

I know what @Left_Empty means. I remember having this strange and scary fever dream when I was a kid and mainly I was just drifting through space but started moving faster and faster and going through and around vast celestial objects, and it left me with the oddest feeling of vertigo and being lost among the stars.

Oddly enough, Outer Wilds inspires the inverse feeling - it’s a scaled down solar system, and you can hop in your little ship and be at the next planet in a matter of seconds. You pretty much can’t get lost, or go too far away from any point of reference. It’s like you’re inhabiting someone’s diorama of a working solar system, and it makes sense for the purposes of the game. I’m certainly not complaining though, especially when the game this system is wrapped around is so damned good.

The gradient, regular background saved me. Were it black… gulp.

The universe is insane.

Oh, that is very interesting. I always thought the scale was the main thing about my fear, but there might be something else, more important to it, that I haven’t understood yet, as the Outer Wilds is really near the maximum level of fear for me.

I’ll speculate that since the size and speed of the system and its planet are scaled down, that everything feels like it’s moving faster than it ought to be, like a toy that’s been wound way too tightly and is jumping all over the place. It only really bugs me when I’m trying to land on one of those moons or planets and am constantly having to adjust for its position in space. It helps that they do have at least a little gravity.

There’s something existentially disturbing about thinking about the foreign worlds and stars and expanses that on some fundamental level are hostile to human life at the most basic level. It’s hopping out of the fish bowl only to see stark emptiness, leviathan like stillness and time scales that dwarf human comprehension. That there’s something familiar about the earth’s ever dynamic seasons and cycles and mountains and continents compared to dead valleys on rocky moons that are older than the oldest rocks on earth and haven’t changed for billions of years.

Outer Wilds is very much more little prince… except for the central theme, which is kind of an existential crisis.

I think Outer Wilds planets are scary exactly because they’re so small. From the human perspective, the Earth is eternal and infinite, and there is a sense of safety and stability in that. The planets in the game are so small you could fall off if you jump too high.

Anyways, the DLC is out, everyone go play.

Essential rating from Eurogamer.

I figured out the first thing and found a thing! So exciting! Now I have to work :(

I skimmed the review but didn’t see what I’m most curious about, which is whether this integrates with the main game or stands apart from it (sounds like maybe stands apart?).

OMG I found another thing! It is so cool! Wait, is that a spoiler? That the thing I found is cool?

I fired this up last night but ended up pursuing all the new bits of information Mobius added to help smoothen the base game’s major ‘bump’ (finding the Ash Twin Project). Fascinating seeing them wrangle with this issue and I couldn’t tell you whether it’s much clearer for new players!

Anyway, this gave me as much reason as any to reacquaint myself with the game, have a fly around, use my gear again, tweak the controls, die in various horrible ways etc. I was quite surprised how well I remembered the shortcuts and routes to certain places despite it being about 2 years ago since I last played it. Oh and that space walk across the Sun Station still gave me a scare!

I just want to ignore work today and play Echoes of the Eye but… my workload is crazy right now.

Tonight. Or tomorrow.

The content appears in the main game, but as far as I can tell has its own content that doesn’t take place in the same ‘space’ as the main game

That article headline said “spooky”. I didn’t need that!

The first thing that comes up when you start the game is a notification that a “Reduced fright” option is available. I didn’t turn it on because I’m not a giant baby, and so far nothing has been particularly scary. Surely nothing will come up that will make me regret my choices.
Seriously, I wonder what horrors are waiting for me to discover them.

(DLC spoiler coming up)

However, and continuing the earlier conversation about the size of planets evoking fear, they made a goddamned ringworld. The first time I went through the airlock and looked up…

Well I started this properly today and the first hour had me say holy fuck around 6 times (creepy anomaly in photo, going to deep space satellite and seeing the anomaly then… flying into it, looking up and seeing a frickin’ ringworld, the dam breaking, and… another alien species!!). And it’s not stopped there after several more hours. I was very apprehensive about Echoes of the Eye going in but I needn’t have been; I’m blown away by Mobius’ ability to continue to surprise and awe. Damn.


I’ve gotten to the point where I guess I’ve discovered all the clues (there’s no more “There’s more to discover here” tags in the ship’s log), but I don’t actually know what I’m supposed to do next. I guess I have to synthesize all this data into some kind of action. I’ll sleep on it.

The new environment is very cool. And so far, the expansion is very good (as was the base game) at being fair. Everything is there for you to see, you just have to look in the right way…

Sleeping on it worked! I have had a breakthrough. Much more to explore now!

At Therlun’s urging, I tried this game, and pretty much felt the exact same thing. Unease, dread, crippling loneliness. I’d never felt anything like this from a game before, and had to pretty much stop playing. Really an amazing achievement that the game can evoke such feelings from me.

And coming from the resident spaceman, I’d say that’s quite a feat too! Also good job @Therlun :-)

So I thought I was done with the DLC the other night. I had all the info I needed… but I couldn’t quite connect the dots so went to bed. My head wouldn’t stop stewing on stuff and it wasn’t until about 6:30am yesterday that it hit me. Unfortunately it would be another 14 hours or so before I could try my idea, which was painful, but that’s how it went with the base game too! Thankfully it worked and I was able to complete it.

Well, I thought so until I realised there was one last thing I needed to do to properly wrap the whole experience up, which I did just now, and I’m quite emotional again. Gah, this is a special game and the DLC just enhances it further, somehow. It goes in a different direction to the base game but it still has so many incredible moments. I will say: there’s a certain element of it that is proving divisive but I didn’t have too much trouble with it and I think the developers will probably smooth that out like they did with a certain other part of the main game.

Also, for anyone who’s new to Outer Wilds–I envy you–the DLC integrates into the main game. My gut feeling is that it should be investigated afterwards. If I recall there’s a pop-up that tells you how to access it when you first start, just so you know.

Also also, that Eurogamer write-up is great with some really sharp observations. I would heed the writer’s warning though: if you’re going to play it, just play it. He spoils a fair bit by his own admission and obviously for the sake of the review. I’ll probably do some random spoiler thoughts tomorrow once I’ve processed everything a bit more.

But it’s great, essential even, and I’m going to be a bit lost for a while, again, until the feels have faded. Whew.

Agreed, no game has ever made me feel that way, which is saying something.