Fourteen was a rough age for me. Isn’t it for everyone? My dad had just passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. I had always been a straight A student and now I was failing my classes. My awkwardness rivaled that of Tina Belcher.
But what was always there for me and had always been there for me? A good video game set in a different world.
At the time I was playing Halo, often with friends. This was back when I had friends, of course. After high school, maintaining friendships gets a lot less convenient. Sometimes we played the campaign, sometimes we joined a multiplayer, and sometimes we slaughtered each other on homemade maps made even more interesting by randomized power weapons. Reach had the best multiplayer and campaign and Combat Evolved was a close second.
I’d often stay up until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning playing video games. Halo, Need For Speed, Okami on the Wii (I failed a couple of classes for Okami). These games made me so happy. That’s the magic of video games—they can transport you to a different world, transform you into someone else. They were such a nice break from the ugly world.
I’m twenty-four now, and I never really stopped playing. But I learned to prioritize; I never failed another class. Those multiplayer Halo parties faded away, none of us realizing that we were logging off for the last time. When I met my husband, we started playing Halo’s successor, Destiny. It became my new favorite game. I loved the customization options and the weapons, and the settings were beautiful and exotic. And I played Destiny up until . . . when did Starfield come out?
I have always been a giant space nerd. Watching Star Trek: The Next Generation feels like traveling through space with old friends. And based on my history with Halo on Destiny, it should come as no surprise that Starfield was right up my alley.
Starfield was my first Bethesda game. I’m a one-game kind of gal, honestly. I get emotionally attached to whatever world has adopted me for a couple of hours at a time. I haven’t put this one down since the day it came out.
I’m all too aware of the criticisms surrounding Starfield. And I get it. The storylines and locations are a little sparse compared to previous Bethesda titles and sometimes the dialogue is, well, cringey.
I don’t care about any of that. All I care about is having a good time, and I’ve never walked away from Starfield feeling worse than when I picked it up. I love meeting all the new people, exploring strange planets, building new and ridiculous ships. I love that humanity’s future is bright. I love how optimistic the game is. I love its cheesy sense of humor. Locations like Titan’s New Homestead and Volii Alpha’s Neon make the universe come alive for me. You can even take a tour of New Homestead for 100 credits.
I also appreciate the attention to quality of life. Starfield does not feel like work to me; it freaks like an adventure. If I make a bad decision, all I have to do is load from the last save point to get a totally different outcome. Unlike Dark Souls or Elden Ring, the experience is totally stress-free. Those are both great games in their own right, but I play to relax. Elden Ring is far from relaxing.
You can disagree with me, but Starfield is the first game in a decade that has kept me up until 3:00 in the morning. I feel like I’m fourteen again, but this time it’s only the good part of being fourteen.