The answer is really simple, the question though is a bit more complicated. Some people ask why so many "grown-ups" spend hours playing games seemingly designed for a child. You may look at a game like Minecraft and say how childish it is. And no, it's not because of a bunch of creepy old guys trying to meet kids. The answer is this: Lego's. Yes, it's that simple, a game like Minecraft or Space Engineer basically gives the play ENDLESS Legos!
Really? Minecraft and Legos?
YES! Lego's. For the 80's and 90's kids who spend hours (and hundred of dollars) on Lego blocks, these kinds of games satisfy a long lost need to build what ever you want. In the case of a game like Minecraft, the game world is literally made up of millions of movable, stack-able, craft-able and mold-able blocks with which the limits are only that of the players imagination.
My first thought playing Minecraft back in the beta phase was "Oh my god it's a world made of legos!"
Then you have games like Space Engineer or Astroneer which adds a whole new dynamic. Space. With mining and collecting different materials to construct a galactic star-destroyer, how could any nerd not devout hours of spare time?
The days of buying a $250 lego set and painstakingly constructing the Millennium Falcon are gone. You can now not only build the Millennium Falcon. You can walk around inside, fly it to a nearby asteroid and then fill up it's cargo hold to make the Kessel Run in as many Parsecs as you can manage. You can deliver said cargo to the half-finished death star you're working on. Or you can mod it out with additional thrusters, lasers, missiles, and more!
Sure there's more than just the Lego connection. These games satisfy our creative tendencies, it allows our minds to wander and for us man-children to build Castle GraySkull and then prance around like He-Man himself while adding in the lava moat we always knew was missing. There's something deeply satisfying for most about creating something from nothing, even if only digitally.
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