The Idea of interplanetary travel has captured the imagination for over a century now. From the novels of Jules Verne, to the poster-adorned walls of wide-eyed kids, and don’t forget the pulpy science fiction of the 1950s which was born out of that decade’s rush to get humans on the Moon.
The image of space has always in some way represented the idea of human progress. However, it has also given rise to another equally powerful and persistent image: that of a lone explorer displaced, longing for home across an ocean of stars - think movies such as Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Moon, Interstellar, The Martian.
System Era Softworks’s Astroneer, a craft-‘em-up survival game about travelling to distant planets, draws from both ideas for inspiration. At first glance, the game paints an optimistic and potentially naïve image of space travel. Research and discovery are key to the game’s progression: you must study alien flora, research new modules, and find materials out in the world to craft them. While, elsewhere, the design of vehicles and the Astroneer itself appear almost toy-like in nature, boasting a particularly plastic and inorganic sheen, as if you’re inhabiting the safe and secure world of a children’s playset.