#1 Posted by SexyToad (2722 posts) -

So I made a recent thread asking for favorite sandbox games. Many replys were GTA, Skyrim, or Saints Row. The wiki lists them as sandbox games and states "A sandbox style game is any game were you can choose to not further the main storyline at will." How is that a definition of a sandbox game? I would say a sandbox game is an example of an open world game but allows the player to alter the world. Games like GTA, Skyrim, or Saints Row don't belong under the sandbox concept.

I want to get some feedback from the community before I change the sandbox concept page.

#2 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3997 posts) -

I understand your logic here and it makes sense really but I don't think that your definition is the widely accepted version of "sandbox game".

GTA, Saints Row, Skyrim are all games that are widely considered "sandbox games".

#3 Posted by Slag (4885 posts) -

said:

I would say a sandbox game is an example of an open world game but allows the player to alter the world."

I always thought that was a God game or a Terraforming game. Not sure what the accepted term is, but never heard that called a sandbox game. Although I see your argument.

I've usually heard sandbox referred to as what you are calling an Open World game, including the staff btw. I.e. the GTAs, Saints Row etc. I wouldn't change the wiki to your definition as I don't believe that's how most people use the term.

#4 Edited by Snail (8662 posts) -

Oh, boy. The argument of "what is sandbox?". Here we go.

I guess the definition of sandbox is rather abstract because, in a way, you can *alter* the world of, say, Skyrim. You can interact with it, you can kill mammoths in it, you can learn spells from its dungeons, you can freely and dynamically explore it in a non-linear fashion, perhaps while riding a dragon. Sure you can't literally mold it, but it's still a huge playground for the player to explore. So, you know, what does sandbox really mean?

For what it's worth I recently read this article which is relevant to this topic, and you might find interesting.

#5 Posted by SomeDeliCook (2341 posts) -

Crackdown is the pure definition of sandbox to me. 
You are instantly put into this world you can run around in without restrictions (besides not be able to drive to the second two islands right away from the compound, however to unlock them you just merely swim, run, or drive over to them.) You are never forced to do any missions, and when you do "start" a mission, you can just run away without restrictions. 
And when you play with the Keys to the City mode, your options are furthered even more. Change the time of day, erase the entire population, spawn explosive barrels or ramp trucks, give yourself max stats or zero stats, do whatever the hell you want.

#6 Posted by mosespippy (4461 posts) -

I think the term originated as a replacement for the term GTA clone. When you break it down a sandbox is a box where you can do whatever you want with what you are given. So a sandbox game would be a game where you are free to do whatever you want with the mechanics that the game gives you. In that sense most open world games would also be sandbox games. Things like Gary's Mod and Minecraft would be as well, which they aren't under the current definition in the wiki.

#7 Posted by Jams (2966 posts) -

@SexyToad said:

So I made a recent thread asking for favorite sandbox games. Many replys were GTA, Skyrim, or Saints Row. The wiki lists them as sandbox games and states "A sandbox style game is any game were you can choose to not further the main storyline at will." How is that a definition of a sandbox game? I would say a sandbox game is an example of an open world game but allows the player to alter the world. Games like GTA, Skyrim, or Saints Row don't belong under the sandbox concept.

I want to get some feedback from the community before I change the sandbox concept page.

Actually I think you're right. Skyrim, Gta and Saints Row are "Open World" games. They're not sandboxes. Sandbox games I think are the same as the idea as a sandbox a kid plays in. You have the sandbox (the open world or play area) and the toys (the mechanics and tools) to play with. Then you just use your imaginations to make the story and fun out of the tools and play area. That's what a sandbox game is.

#8 Edited by Ares42 (2797 posts) -

I think the analogy isn't as much about it being sand that you can form and shape how you want, but rather that it's up to you to create your own fun. When you're in a sandbox there are no instructions or guidelines, it's just you the sand and your own imagination. A sandbox can be anything from the most dreary to the most fun place to be, all depending on who's in it. And in the same way you can look at something like Vinny playing Sleeping Dogs and that games looks 10x more fun than anyone else playing it.

#9 Posted by Coombs (3449 posts) -

The question is "What is a Sandbox"

Well, It's a box... Full of sand. Boring plain and not much fun, there's nothing there. A sand box only becomes fun when you get in there and start using your imagination and create a world all your own. Or instead of playing in the sandbox you could go play on the jungle gym, on the jungle gym you are still able to use your imagination and have fun but your action are fairly limited

So basically what I'm saying in some semi-drunken way is:

Sandbox = Sandbox ( Your create your own fun )

Jungle Gym = Open World ( Fun is waiting to be had )

Or something to that effect I think

#10 Posted by Irvandus (2886 posts) -

I think the term "Sanbox Game" before this gen always referred to anything where you could break off from the main quest or are given the opportunity to tackle a situation in multiply ways. Most people now consider this term to mean only "Open World" games now though which I think is incorrect.

#11 Posted by Coombs (3449 posts) -

@Irvandus: So then the term "Open World" is meaningless?

We should just call all open world games Sandbox games, That's what your saying?

#12 Posted by Ares42 (2797 posts) -

@Coombs said:

@Irvandus: So then the term "Open World" is meaningless?

We should just call all open world games Sandbox games, That's what your saying?

I would say there's still some difference to the terms (and they might describe different aspects of a game). Look at something like Dark Souls, it's an open-world game but I wouldn't say it's a sandbox game as it's still very directed. You can choose where to go, but you're always moving towards the final goal. I would say sandbox is more of an overall gameplay description, while open-world only describes the layout of the game.

#13 Posted by Irvandus (2886 posts) -

@Coombs said:

@Irvandus: So then the term "Open World" is meaningless?

We should just call all open world games Sandbox games, That's what your saying?

Not at all. An Open World game needs to have an open world. I would consider Starcraft's multiplayer an example of sandbox but certainly not Open World. Far Cry 3 on the other hand is both Sandbox and Open World.

#14 Posted by MegaLombax (427 posts) -

Thats an interesting question to ask. Now that I think about it, the term Sandbox and Open World does imply different meanings. I'd personally define Sandbox games as games which are designed in such a way that it provides players means to tinker with the game world's physics with less stringent rules on what a player can and cannot do e.g games like Just Cause 2.

Open World games to me are non-linear games where the pacing of the game is user defined. Players dictate when to proceed with story missions and are able to do things outside of the story missions. The game world physics are however much tighter and leaves less room to experiment games e.g. Sleeping Dogs.

#15 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

I'd say that a sandbox game is one with a loose ruleset and no fixed way to achieve your goals, if there are goals in the first place. Usually, they're very conducive to random fucking around. For example, Scribblenauts is a sandbox game. You can create any item you want to solve the problem at hand, and the game's like "whatever, I'm cool with that". Compare this to a game like The Legend of Zelda, which has a stricter ruleset and largely fixed ways of solving puzzles.

I should also stress that a game doesn't have to be open world to be sandbox, and that one doesn't imply the other. Ultima IV's open world without the sandbox (since there are largely fixed instructions on completing the game), while something like Incredipede would probably be a linear sandbox game (since there's no one "right" solution for any of the puzzles in that game).

#16 Posted by Cold_Wolven (2295 posts) -

To me a sandbox game is a game that's non linear in the sense that you aren't going through a game level by level which allows the player to go off tangent and have fun in ways that doesn't have to involve a story mission. You make your own fun much like a kid in a sandbox.

#17 Posted by bhlaab (167 posts) -

A sandbox relies on a large number of interacting procedural gameplay mechanics that the player can influence at will

#18 Posted by envane (1164 posts) -

i guess the confusion comes from older economic/building sim games that literally had a "sandbox mode" , which was basicly a cleaned up debug mode hehe

i guess gta etc are more prominent now that sandbox seems more akin to them , but for us oldies we just think of something like sim-ant ehe