Transmission T²: The Known Universe

Don't Panic.

The exploration of space — or humankind fighting the things that dwell in it — has been a common theme in games. It comes as no real shock; just staring up at the sky at night has birthed tons of thought on what might lie beyond, and video games have always held close ties to sci-fi and fantasy. One thing that is rarely considered in the midst of those forays into space, though, is the perspective of our place in the cosmos.

Today’s Transmission is a bit off the beaten path in that respect, because instead of a gaming video, today features a video from the American Museum of Natural History. It is the culmination of everything we understand about the scope of the universe and humanity’s place in it. When you play a game like Mass Effect you get a grasping sense of the size of everything, and even then it’s only the Milky Way Galaxy the game takes place in. To put it in perspective, the Milky Way is estimated to have between 200-400 stars, and possibly twice as many planets. That’s a lot, and the old MW is only a middleweight on the galactic weigh-in. But that’s not the perspective I’m trying to impart. The perspective is to consider what I just mentioned, and then consider that the Milky Way is only one of about 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Now check out that perspective in action.

There used to be an embeded media player here, but it doesn't work anymore. We blame the Tumbeasts.

Did you notice how much we haven’t figured out yet? If, after this Transmission, you feel the urge to huddle in a corner as you think about how very insignificant we are versus all of reality, then my work here is done. You’re welcome.

Robert Hill-Williams
Robert Hill-Williams
Robert Hill-Williams

MASH Veteran

The only things Rob has been doing longer than gaming are breathing, sleeping, eating, and reading. RPGs were what made him view games as an experience instead of a distraction, but these days he likes and plays every genre gaming has to offer. Outside of his usual reviews and articles on MTB, you can find Rob on the weekly Mashcast and frequenting Twitter.

The Latest from Mash