Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here:

Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Genre labels are something people talk about a lot online these days. Everything has to be categorized and that’s fine. Being able to find similar games is a great thing. Some games though have a tough time being categorized. There’s either not enough of that type of game or the general mechanics are just difficult to put into words. My favorite genre tends to fall in this category, personally. I love games that give you little to no hand-holding at the beginning. They simply give you your mission and send you on your way. These games feature a significant amount of exploration and often require you to keep notes or try and figure things out for yourself. Games like Star Control 2 fall in this category. Today’s game is a more modern example. Today’s game is Outer Wilds, developed by Mobius Digital and released on PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4 in 2019.

Outer Wilds is essentially an open solar system for you to explore and discover. You start off on the peaceful planet of Timber Hearth where the time has come for you to take off in a spaceship made of wood (nothing to be concerned about there!) and explore the solar system. All of your friends on Timber Hearth wish you good luck in the great beyond and tell you about what little they know about the planets beyond, and then you’re off. That’s it.

Outer Wilds doesn’t push you in any specific direction from the start. It teaches you the basics of flying your spaceship, warns you about the invisible, deadly ghost matter, and shows you how gravity crystals function to swap gravity in a small space. Then it simply sets you off on your quest. There are a number of planets to explore, each with their own fascinating histories and stories to tell.

Outer Wilds is ultimately a game about discovery. There is no combat and while there are some enemies, they are more just a part of the worlds you explore and are more obstacles to be bypassed than bad guys to be destroyed. The game does not shove a goal into player’s laps and instead asks them to become invested in this solar system, exploring for themselves and finding the stories waiting to be told. This isn’t to say that Outer Wilds has no ending, it does, but it is one that must be discovered by each player in their own time. 

Outer Wilds won a number of awards upon release and while there was significant market confusion between Outer Wilds and the similarly titled Obsidian game The Outer Worlds, Outer Wilds still managed to sell well via word of mouth. Gaming journalism outlets Polygon, Giant Bomb, and Eurogamer all named it their game of the year for 2019. While it is a hard game to categorize, Outer Wilds is a game that absolutely must be experienced to be fully understood.

Thank you so much for listening and I apologize for the sporadic uploads the last few weeks. My personal schedule has been hectic to say the least but I’m hoping we’re past the worst of it and I can start being more consistent again. Thank you so much for your understanding. I’ll try and keep everyone up to date and be posting more trivia again on Twitter @vg_oftheday. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.