Horizon Zero Dawn, and the Joy of Video Games

To anyone reading this, I’m going to assume at some point in your life you were 5 years old. That seems to be a reasonable assumption. And like many 5 year olds you had a great love for dinosaurs. Why not? They were huge, and had very loud roars. There’s a lot to like there.

Which segues into Horizon Zero Dawn, and things video games can do which other mediums can’t do. Horizon Zero Dawn has dinosaurs. Well, things that resemble dinosaurs. These things are also robots, which makes them more awesome than actual dinosaurs. One of Horizon Zero Dawn’s acquirable skills is the ability to override machines, making them friendly to the player. They will attack other machines at this point, and they will just wander around, allowing players to get up close to them. The first skill unlock only overrides machines for a limited time. The final unlock is an infinite override. There are spots on the map called Cauldrons, and once you complete these you can override more machines, beyond the basic ones.

This brings us to this tame thunderjaw.

I remember marvelling at Jurassic Park at the cinema when I was a child. But I could only see the dinosaurs; I couldn’t in anyway interact with them. The same went for any dinosaur books. I could see the pictures, but that was it.

Now fast forward to being 30 years old, somewhat jaded and messing around in Horizon’s post game. I was just riding around, looking for stuff to make fast travel items, when I happened upon the thunderjaw. Given I was doing nothing in particular I figured why not override it. So I hid in the tall grass, bided my time and when the thunderjaw was in range, launched the override.

What I assumed would be merely video game fun turned into twenty minutes of wild unregulated smiling as I ran with, dove under and generally messed around with a robot dinosaur. All those times I imagined around actual dinosaurs as a child were suddenly happening. And it reminded me of all the things video games are capable of. The very interactivity they possess gives us all the chance to experience things in a wholly unique way compared to books and film.

If I’m being hyper critical right now the thunderjaws AI doesn’t change. It still follows the same path it did pre-override and pretty much interacts with the environment in the same way. Yet, for that moment, none of that mattered.

There was just me, a charger and a massive thunderjaw, playing around under the setting sun.

God I love video games.


Gifs and pictures made/taken by me.

This isn’t a brilliant piece of writing, but I just enjoyed this moment alot.


3 thoughts on “Horizon Zero Dawn, and the Joy of Video Games”

  1. This. This all the way. That unique video game magic of experiencing wonders that aren’t possible any other was is priceless. The best example I can think of for myself right now is when I first played Super Mario Galaxy. I was overjoyed at the prospect of dashing around little planets and soaring gracefully through space. It’s still my favorite platformer of all time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is the wonderful thing about this medium.

      Do you know if there’s any plans to bring Galaxy to the switch in the form of virtual console or anything? I never had a Wii and from everything I’ve heard, it’s platforming greatness. And I soon may have some reasons to by a Switch.

      And thanks for commeting. It’s appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, Galaxy is on Wii U’s virtual console. Hopefully that means it would be on Switch as well. But Nintendo has yet to announce a Virtual Console for Switch at all, which is a little weird. All they’ve said is that they’re working on how to bring their legacy games to Switch, and that their subscription service is not intended to replace it.


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