Open world games have been around since the days of pen, paper, and a couple of dice. It’s a way to truly create and immerse a player into a world through exploration and a feeling of freedom. Of course, freedom doesn’t come without a price. By giving the player the ability to do whatever they want, you’re also giving them the ability to completely ignore any story elements or directions you’ve set within the world. How then do you get players to follow your quests or move in any sort of direction? With good old-fashioned trickery, of course.
For me, it started after I got lost in the woods. It's the kind of place where the ten feet behind you looks exactly like the ten feet in front of you. Alone, young, and scared; I found a strange opening inside one of the trees. A man was waiting for me there with a sword and a simple message: I needed to find her. A girl who I've never seen but her survival rested in my hands. As the doors parted and sunlight blinded my eyes, I found myself once again lost but now with a purpose. For me that was my first open world game, The Legend of Zelda. With only 8-bits and a handful of colors, Miyamoto created a world both terrifying and wondrous.
Keep reading to enter the exciting, and scary, realm of open worlds that exist indie games.