Critical Play – Walking Sim – Places

Places: Walking Simulator 

This game, Park, is a walking sim game for all ages, focused on exploring a calm and scenic park. I played on the PC, and the game is available on Linux, Windows, and web browser. I played through Sketch 1, Place 4, and Sketch 2.

Gloomy and dark Sketch 1.

Summery Place 4.

Formal elements

Players: Park is a single player game where the player walks around a scenic 3D modeled park place.

Objectives: Walk around and enjoy the mystic, calm, and artsy with atmospheric (gloomy, hot summery, etc.) vibes of a snow-filled, grassy, or summery place. Serene nature sounds, such as crickets, play in the background.

Rules & procedures: Players walk around and simply enjoy the view and atmosphere. There are no puzzles or ending, just enjoyment of being in the place.

Resources: The game plays by using WASD to move, and mouse to orbit and see around the place.

Boundaries: The world is this park place.

Outcomes: In Places, there is no real outcome or goal. Players simply walk around and enjoy the experience.

Types of fun and How Walking Tells a Story

Places includes aesthetics of sensationdiscovery, and abnegation. Players enjoy the sensation of walking in a place completely different from the laptop or PC with which they are sitting, and simply allow themselves to be in the moment of the place in which they were transported. They discover more and more beautiful vantage points as they walk around, and allow themselves to submit to the mindless and calming act of walking in beautiful scenery. There is no real linear narrative, but the place itself tells stories: Sketch 1 telling the story of a dark and gloomy place full of dead wintery trees (inciting questions of what had happened here: a fire? an apocalypse?) and Place 4 telling the story of a summery blue day.

Moments of success or fails and things I would change to make the game better

Successes: The game itself is beautiful! Grass of shades of bright orange and burnt magenta sway gently in the wind. Trees fade to a lovely blue in the distance. Walking through these sceneries calms the soul. The background sounds accentuate the feeling of being in the place.

Fails: I personally feel this game can be a little bare bones. There is nothing to do after the initial moments of “wow! walking through this place is lovely and atmospheric” unless you were carrying a virtual camera to take photos of the place. The game can still be more immersive by, for example, adding grass rustling sounds when players move through the place. There is also a lack of story other than the initial environment, so perhaps adding more things to be discovered would entice the player to stay for longer.

About the author

I like animation and game dev yeet.

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