Critical Play: Walking Simulators

I played Babbdi, created and published by Lemaitre Bros on Steam which is a fairly grim looking game with NPCs that look almost like zombies, which scared me at first. It seems to be a game for any level of gamer, but mostly people who are willing and enjoy spending some time exploring a new world. The world is a little weird but has fun objectives so it’s fairly open to most players. It may be a little more interesting for novice players because the world is fairly simple despite the objectives of the game, so it may finish very quickly for an advanced player. The narrative is light so it’s target audience is likely one that enjoys exploring without an objective and doesn’t necessarily need a detailed storyline to follow. 


Formal Elements: 

The key formal element was the player autonomy which allowed for the player to walk, interact, pick things up, and talk to people with little restriction. You could interact with the NPCs in the game as well as many items, and the main objective is to escape Babbdi along with secondary objectives of fulfilling tasks. 


Types of Fun:

Babbdi is a discovery type of fun game. There is a little bit of narrative as well, but the whole point seems to be to explore the world and discover the things that are needed to leave the city. The tasks build into the narrative type of fun, but overall the scripting is fairly light. On the flip side, there is a lot of freedom in where you can go and what you can do with the items that you can interact with in game, thus the discovery element is highlighted.



The walking in Babbdi really encapsulated how the character interacts with the world. We only get to see forward and pan with the mouse, so the view was very much first person. We could also see how the character interacts with people, talking to them and even sometimes finding them sick or dead (apparently). The pan view allowed me to see the world in its entirety, looking up and down to places that I could only see but not necessarily walk to at the moment. Furthermore, you could interact with items in the world such as bats that you could pick up and break things with and balls that you could throw. 


During the game, I got stuck in an elevator and wasn’t able to exit, so I quit the game and restarted it. This was very interesting because I had the autonomy to enter the elevator and click the button to go up or down, but I wasn’t able to stop the elevator at a place where I could properly exit it again. I was glad that the game made it very easy to restart and load properly.


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