Introduction to Sandbox Games
Minecraft is one of the most popular sandbox games. It has sold over 8 million copies and still more copies are being purchased. In Minecraft, you construct buildings in a randomly generated world made of cubes. You are supposed to gather the necessary resources and crafts use them to explore and combat alien creatures to survive.
You are free to do anything. This means that throughout the whole game, there is no set objective for you to accomplish, instead you set your own objectives. You use your intellect and creativity to explore and survive. If you limit your imagination, there are chances that you will not be able to fully exploit the open world in Minecraft.
This gives us a basic understanding of what sandbox games are.
This can be explained by the concept of a child playing in a sandbox. The child has all the toys, crafts and tools available in the sandbox for playing. Therefore child does not need to come out of the sandbox to get anything needed to play.
What is a sandbox game?
Typically, a sandbox game, which is also commonly referred to as an ‘open world game’, is a type of video game with an open gameplay structure which is designed to allow a player to roam through the virtual world and is given considerable freedom to choose participate in the game story at his/her own pace.
The player is given the freedom to choose his/her objectives and also choose the time that he/she feels is appropriate to approach such objectives.
There are no barriers for the player, but some restrictions may be imposed in the game environment e.g. a game may be locked at a certain level and only unlocked when you finish and win a preceding level.
Some of the most popular sandbox games include Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto (GTA), Assassin’s Creed and Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
Elements of a Sandbox Game
An important feature is the gameplay which is all designed in an open world which is a vast area through which a player can accomplish certain objectives. The player can explore as many objectives as possible for survival. The open world setting may mimic the real world, thus making the players’ imagination broad as one thinks of the best strategy to ensure survival.
The open world structure could be a city or open geographical structure where you can roam with little or no restriction. E.g. Need for Speed: Most Wanted enables the player to race through any street of a city he/she chooses.
This is an important element which characterizes a sandbox game. The design of a sandbox game enables a player to do what ever he/she want to do when they feel like i.e. he/she may set own objectives and decide the best time to accomplish them.
The player has resources needed to modify the world or the game and create how he/she wants play.