There’s a nesting doll quality to many of the game’s recipes. Early on, for example, I had to build and charge my ship’s Hyperdrive. That required me to scour planetary surfaces for heridium, in addition to obtaining or crafting some antimatter. The recipe for antimatter calls for another craftable ingredient, electron vapor, whose recipe calls for yet another craftable ingredient, suspension fluid. It’s crafting all the way down. The reward for gathering and combining all of this interstellar stuff is a trip to another star system … where you can begin the process of exploring and crafting all over again, before moving on to the next sun and its planets to do the same. In some cases, you can obtain ingredients through trading, or via the whims of inscrutable aliens, but the objective, always, is to craft more so you can explore more, in an endless, monotonous loop of non-achievement.
— No Man’s Sky is an existential crisis simulator disguised as a space exploration game – Peter Suderman. I would love to read a good historical account of how video games developed this quirk: demanding that players perform tedious repetitive tasks in order to level up – tasks so tedious that many players pay others to perform them. According to what logic does this make sense?