Space Sim Games: A Critical Analysis Pitch

I can’t remember the first space sim I played (does Star Fox count? It’s difficult to name an on-rails shooter as a ‘sim’) but I can remember the first time I played Freelancer, which blew me away with its immersive, living world with its many star systems to explore, all joined together via ‘jump gates’. The sheer scale of the playing field was something I had never yet encountered in a video game, and the effect it had on me was one of immediate excitement and potentiality. Sure, I could do the story missions – or: I could buy a cargo ship and become a space freighter, attempting to maximise profit on my trade runs. Was it as fun? Not really. But I didn’t care, because this was my goal. I had set out to something, and you better believe I was gonna do it.

I believe that promoting emergence and player agency in video game development will lead to some truly breathtaking, fun and social game media experiences in the coming decade, and I think a lot of that started with 20th century space sims like Elite and Escape Velocity, which offered an unparalleled sense of freedom afforded by the scale of replicating outer space. That’s a big part of the reason I am choosing to critical analyse the genre. The other is because I am involved in creating a space sim, and I think that by examining the genre closely I will be able to help craft a better game, and be better equipped in my messaging and communications with fans of space sims.

A selection of sources I will be utilising

Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. (2010), Autoethnography: An Overview, Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1), Art. 10,

Jennett, Charlene, Cox, Anna L., Cairns, Paul, Dhoparee, Samira, Epps, Andrew, Tijs, Tim & Walton, Alison (2008), Measuring and defining the experience of immersion in games, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Volume 66, Issue 9, pp. 641-661, ISSN 1071-5819,

McWhirter, Andrew (2017) Pokémon GO and No Man’s Sky: sandbox gaming’s next level in tech-heavy society, International Journal of Jungian Studies, 9:1, 66-71, DOI: 10.1080/19409052.2016.1248547

Rommeswinkel, Hendrik (2014), Measuring freedom in games, U. of St. Gallen Law & Economics Working Paper, (2011-08).

Sweetser, Penny (2008), Emergence in Games, Cengage Learning, Inc.


7 thoughts on “Space Sim Games: A Critical Analysis Pitch

  1. Hi Rahn,

    I’m excited for you and your project! I think that working on something that directly relates to current projects or interests is always the best way to go. Your pitch gave me a fair understanding of the analytical framework you’ll be using. As I understand it that is ‘autoethnographic research’, ‘freedom’ and ‘immersion’. It seems you have a good hold on these three concepts. It appears most the research to complement your autoethnographic approach is scholarly. I think the idea of balancing academic and primary findings is wise. I think your plan to complete 32 posts on twitter is adequate. Twitter (as far as I can tell) I think is a great platform for the game culture that surrounds your DA and thus your audience. I think you would benefit from a slightly more precise plan but a good goal none the less.

    Thank you for making your pitch so easy to watch. Love the use of screen play and titles to make it easy to follow in conjunction with your video/audio narration. Very effective means of communicating your DA.

    It seems you have research under control, but I personally found this article helpful in gaining a better understanding of what different space sim games offer (

    Good luck! Kendal


  2. Hi Rahn, I was impressed with your video pitch and blog post; you did an excellent job with your Digital Artefact Pitch. You have a detailed plan of what you intend to do and your objectives. I love how you introduce and explain in detail the analytical frameworks you have chosen for your DA—doing this helped viewers comprehend your project. You also have if you make a list of academic resources that will help you in your DA, but I think if you analyse the usefulness of those sources, it will help your writing become more insightful. Moreover, I believe in your pitch, if you mention your target audience and your DA utility, it will make the audience understand more about your project. Also, I found an academic resource that I think might help you in the study of autoethnography -YqKb74xq7UnxzRtisoEJpfBbrxMjm4zqb1LrvTx5THMWBw
    Overall, you have done your pitch excellent. I’m looking forward to your DA in the future.


  3. Pingback: Analysing the Space Sim | Welcome to the Thunderdome

  4. Hey Rahn!

    A space sim video game? That sounds awesome. Utilising social media such as Twitter is a great way to connect and gain feedback with such an audience. Although it would be preferable if you could outline your target audience as it would indicate what your product will cater for. I fully understand the analytical framework you’ve outlined and described, and I believe that it suits very well to your analysis. The source you’ve chosen is also relative to your analysis which is great as it would allow you a deeper understanding of the genre. It would be even better if you could illustrate a timeline of events for your project so that you could have a more accurate feedback loop from your audience. That being said, I am keen on what you will be producing and hopefully play your space sim game!

    Cheers, Jason


  5. Pingback: Critical Self-Reflection – Beyond Interpretation

  6. Pingback: Space Sims: Scale, Immersion & Autoethnography | Welcome to the Thunderdome

  7. Pingback: Space Sims: Scale, Immersion & Autoethnography – Game Cultures

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