Different tastes and opinions make for a more interesting life. For the most part, it’s easy to see why certain tastes and thoughts bubble up into trends but there is something which continues to boggle my noggin. Walking simulators.
It was as if the market all cried out at once and decided they loved the walking about in Skyrim, just not the NPC’s, combat, crafting, looting etc. You know, the game portion of walking around looking at the pretty scenery.
I sort of get it, walking around a lush forest environment with very well scripted VO is like TV that you can direct. I’m just not sure if it’s actually a game. “Go from A to B” and “trigger scripted event” before “moving C to D” and “triggering another scripted event”. Rinse and repeat until you wear down the rails and end credits roll.
The level of interaction is easily compared to reading a book. Holding the book is the equivalent of holding W to walk forwards. Turning a page is like left clicking on those trigger points. Yet we don’t call a book a game because you have to interact with it.
This comparison might be over the top but there is a definite minimalist approach to walking simulators. Often feeling like the developer made the world and then went “ah screw it, let’s just add some VO and release!”
Whether it’s lazy gamers unwilling to actually invest in anything more than the combo of pressing W and left click, or idle developers taking advantage of selling the illusion of games when it’s, in fact, a narrative driven experience. AKA a story, a movie, an episode.
One thing is certain, less has truly replaced more. From the time it takes to complete a game, to the mechanics and interactions entailed. The simplification to appease non-gaming media journalists and frenzied quick play crowds at conferences is beneficial to expand the market audience and to make interactive mediums more accessible.
An interactive story is fantastic, but let’s call them that and not simulators, my brain can’t cope with the contradiction.