Walking Sims

After playing one of the games above (or another walking sim you find,) write a very short  essay (200-500 words) about how walking tells the story. Please use the usual framework, but when examining mechanics and how they affect gameplay and type of fun, answer the prompt.

  • What is the theme?

The game is based around exploration, religion, and mythology. As you progress through the game, you unlock skills that you were not able to use before, and eventually ‘ascend’ to a higher being (white cloak) by perhaps dying. After this, you have the opportunity to engage in some form of multiplayer play by guiding new players through the game.

  • What mechanics do they use?

Movement, flying/double jumping, interacting via some kind of singing?

  • What kind of fun do they promise the player?

Sensation (beautiful visuals), fantasy, narrative, challenge (open world, hard to find new clues), fellowship (guiding others), discovery

  • How is this fun and theme reinforced through graphic design decisions?

It’s hard to tell if the graphics were built around the game or if the game was built around the graphic inspiration behind the game. Regardless, the mechanics and graphic design of Journey go hand in hand in creating a holistic experience that leaves room for reflection. A big theme of the game (and the genre)

  • How does the game differentiate itself from other games in its genre?

Even though this game belongs to the walking sim genre, it felt much more similar to puzzle games, maybe even Monument Valley specifically. Typically, I find that walking sims have a difficult time balancing a prewritten story with open world exploration; either the game is too linear and feels like watching a movie with extra steps, or it is too confusing where the next step in the story is. Journey, however, does a fantastic job of balancing these elements, making it feel less belonging to the genre.

  • How would you make it better?

The start of the game is a little bit slow. I know that exposition is looked down upon in the arts as if it were a failure to properly incorporate it into the rest of the story. For games however, because we are learning a suite of new ways to interact with a fictional world, it would be helpful to have a pre-defined list of what we can and cannot do. Although I do think that such a tutorial would have broken the beautiful, no-dialogue style of Journey.

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