Critical Play: Walking Simulators

I chose to play places, published by jlv in my web browser. It is also possible to download the places and play the game on Linux and Windows. I gather that the target audience is people aged 10 to 40 because the game is abstract and likely wouldn’t appeal as much to older audiences. The formal elements of the game include the objective, which I gathered to be relaxation, and the boundaries of the world, which I did not reach when I was walking. When I was playing, I felt discovery fun because I saw different parts of the world, abnegation fun because playing the game was a very relaxing activity that distracted me from the stress of day to day life, and sensation fun, as I felt the scenery of the game wash over me. One “epic fail” and something I would change about the game is the fact that it is possible to walk straight through trees and other obstacles. Meanwhile, a successful moment for me was discovering how to sprint — double tapping “w ” just like in Minecraft —¬† which allowed me to walk through the worlds more rapidly. Besides the sprinting mechanic, the other main mechanics were just the keys that controlled the direction I walked and the mouse to control my vision in the simulation. Overall, I came into this assignment skeptical of the value or usefulness of walking simulators, and came out with a newfound appreciation for them.

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