I’m late to the party for Critical Distance’s November round robin affair, writing this on the evening of December 1st, but what the hell: I wanted to write something about this so let’s go for it anyway. This will prove a bit of a freeform ramble, as you’ve probably guessed by the publication date up top.
The theme this month concerns “player-owned” spaces in games, typically understood as a sort of home (or home base, if you want):
There are many games that allow players to carve out and claim a space to call their own. Unlike customizable avatars, these places become part of the fabric of the game environment. We can travel away from them, packed with gear for battle, or we can travel back to them in search of a bed to rejuvenate our bodies, souls, and possibly our magika. They can be urban or rural. They can be ours alone or communal spaces. Much like real homes, they are what we make of them.
Tell us about homes you’ve made in games. Have you built a home and started a family in Skyrim? What music did your Commander Shepard relax to, and what fish were in the tank, what models on the shelves? What makes your Animal Crossing home distinctly yours? Why is your guildhall the best guildhall in all the MMORPG land? How long have you defended your camp in Don’t Starve? Basically, if you’ve carved out a space to call your own, or if you’ve turned a house into ‘Home Sweet Home,’ we want to hear about it.
There’s something about this premise that rings false to me. To try and pin down this sensation I thought back to some of the places I’ve called home in various games over the years.