Critical Play: Walking Simulators

Journey is a single-player, immersive journey-style game where players travel through a sunlit, barren desert as a red, robed figure with a scarf.


Within the game, there are small trinkets you can collect so that you can do special activities, such as fly. The user’s main objective is to collect orbs of light and engage in full discovery with the vast desert. The visuals of the areas are amazing. There’s this huge sense of exploration, which is accompanied with an awe-inspiring soundtrack. The landscape acts as another character in the game, one at times you collaborate with and at other times is your enemy.This scarf enables the traveler to jump and glide to new areas.


The type of fun in this game is purely through exploration and delight of exploring, getting better, and exploring. When the character first flies and is able to walk around, that’s s a great sense of success. Even the sensation of walking around the area is a great sense of joy. 


Journey has this great sense of exploration and I love how the narrative is woven into the gameplay. The same sense of discovery for the game is the same as the narrative of the game.


Compared to these two games, I think that Journey does a better job of integrating narrative into its gameplay. Upon completion of Journey, it was clear to me that I couldn’t have gotten the same experience and perspective on the narrative had it been conveyed through a different medium.

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