That mountain is not just a backdrop,” Todd Howard once said, introducing Skyrim to the world. “You can walk all the way to the top of that mountain.” The winning quote has become immortalised as a meme: “See that mountain? You can climb it.”

It’s a phrase that encapsulates both the wonder and familiarity of open world design in video games and the genre that’s been built around them, echoed in many game reveals since. How did the promise of distant peaks become not only possible, but a cliché? For that story, we have to go right back to the beginning of PlayStation.