Have you ever stared at a picture or gone to place and you immediately felt a sense of nostalgia or inspiration? Hopefully you have and were able to see how much of an impact your surroundings can do to set your mood.
Setting is arguably one of the top most important things in video games, and various things in general, but what really makes it such a key factor in capturing the player’s attention?
I think setting-wise that Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is one of the most honorable and notable games that incorporates a unique use of their setting.
Pretty much any noticeable landmark in the game is eventually visited as the two brothers make their way through. The graphics and settings look so amazing and give off that vibe of peace and serenity, but of course the atmosphere must be tense at times (since it is an action/adventure game) which it alters quickly and does extremely effectively.
Another notable game that uses setting to their advantage is Skyrim. Nearly every visible mountain and city can be climbed and conquered. This gives a sense of adventure and free roam to the player and his/her actions.
Or even Gone Home where the plot/story completely revolves around the setting (their house).
Maybe it’s that sense of freedom that makes setting such an important and unique factor in our everyday readings and writings. OR maybe it’s the fact that each game is able to create a new experience/mechanic out of their setting. Regardless, setting helps to aid aspects of the game (ex: plot) to significantly improve the gaming experience. It captures the player’s thoughts and emotions and gives them a sense of freedom of action.
I mean what would games (or books for that matter) be without it?