Community Blog: A Windborne Family

08/21/2014 by Ravious

Community Blog: A Windborne Family
Windborne caught the attention of my two daughters (5 and 8) immediately. I bought the game on Steam early access after seeing an even earlier demo of the game. They watched and asked what the game was about. I told them it was like their other sandbox game, and then added, but better. Being a good dad and sharing my hobby, I decided to buy another copy of Windborne so that they could play together.

Amazingly one of the first things they latched on to was that the character was female (now male options are available). Being in a household of girls, where we all play video games, is an eye-opener to the gender options in games. Windborne’s small, seemingly insignificant decision set the stage.

The second thing my family loved was how free the game felt. There was no death. You could just jump off one of the floating sky islands and return to the spawn point. This is a constant way of travel in our household. There is also no rush to hide from the night or potential danger. Combat is a feature of Windborne still in development, but there was no feeling of progressive, hurried survival. Instead there is peace.
There was such a feeling of safety and peace that my youngest daughter, usually terrified of being attacked in games, set off to explore the caverns. My oldest daughter fell in love with all the furniture options, and she began to create wondrous small spaces. There was a sense of calm in both of them when playing Windborne that I hadn’t seen in their other favorite games.

The most important part for a parent that is constantly eye-balling glasses of orange juice to make sure they are exactly equal is that each daughter had their own island. They could visit each other’s island with a click of a button, but I felt things were so much easier since they each had their own defined space. Instead of having territory conflicts, they were acting as hosts and guiding each other through the amazing sites of their personal islands.

My small kids like to “redo”. In other games they are constantly changing wardrobe options or remaking characters. In other sandbox games they were always deciding whatever they built was getting old, and then they would head over the hills to a new spot. This sometimes made it hard for them to find each other’s homesteads. In Windborne they each have quite a few islands to work on. Re-doing a world is as simple as starting a new game, but each new world in Windborne is still open to visits by friends.

The other day I saw them jumping around to other players’ islands that were shared out on Steam. For an hour they marveled at all the things that were built: pyramids, temples, and hanging gardens were exciting my daughters. They wanted to go build that too!

In a lot of games we play together, my wife and I are the teachers. “Press “F” here. No, you have to warp her. No, you need more diamonds. Here, let me do it.” It can get tiring pretty quickly.

In Windborne, we’re the ones being shown around by two little girls. I am the guest. There are many parts of the game they are still learning (or just missing), and I am there to help. However, they picked up the soul of the game on their own. I like that.