Saturday, November 11, 2017

Walking In Dimensions

What is the deal with simulated walking?
Exploration — a sub-genre of adventure — traces back to the 80s, and in 2003, Mary Flanagan created “[domestic],” an interactive experience that repurposes early first-person-shooter environments to reconstruct a childhood memory of a fire. It was an early example of a digital experience that most closely resembles what we might consider a modern day “walking simulator.” And the term “walking sim” began appearing on forums, as an insult, in the late 2000s.
While all genre classification is, in some way, reductive, “walking sim” is reductive in a profoundly annoying way. Pretty much all games are basically walking sims, right? You literally walk from place to place and then do a thing. The insult is in categorizing a genre by its limitation, rather than its capability: in walking sims, according to critics, all you do is walk. In “Assassin’s Creed,” a wildly popular role playing game (RPG), “tourism mode” is the “walking sim” version. As Jake Elliott—one of the three creators of “Kentucky Route Zero,” another game that has endured the walking sim designation —keenly points out, “people buy into the term in order to talk about what is missing.”
Real walking could fill that gap...

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