These Games Were Made for Walkin'

I think we need a walking sim thread! I just played Dear Esther for the first time, and enjoyed the intrinsic pleasure of just having a stroll in a pretty environment.


I have some criticisms about that particular game's storytelling choices which I might get into later, but I do think the game succeeds tremendously at combining the simple joy of exploring a 3D environment and conveying a sense of vulnerability and tension that connects to the symbolic thrust of the game.

Meanwhile one of my favorites, Proteus, is a game with a beautiful and unique art style and uses the same limitations to an entirely different effect -- to capture the simple wonder of nature and the feeling of time and place. It also manages to tell a complete story which has a beautiful ending that elevates the game far beyond simply "walking in the woods."


Of course in the 10+ years since these games were made, walking sims have evolved a lot, and I'm curious to learn which ones you like and the type of interesting stuff people are creating!

Possibly on the edge of the genre / more interactive artworks, but I really enjoy both Forests are for Trees and The Catacombs of Solaris Revsisited by Ian MacLarty. Both are simply visual feasts (or a firehose in the case of Catacombs)

Perfect thread titles don't exi—

[Connor Sherlock]( makes a lot of these.

Proteus is so good! Still one of my favorites. I love its sense of playfulness, and how more than most in its genre it owns the “walking sim” label. All you do is walk and look, but little details, like frogs to chase and birds to spook, make your presence in that space feel meaningful.

Couple other favorites:

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    Adios! Not exactly a deep cut considering its director appeared on the show, but it is IMO the best walking sim ever made. So much to love about it: the little choices it asks you to make, its tone and subtlety, its emphasis on mundanity, its slow burn. It's the first game I can recall to make me feel real dread. It even made me cry! Twice! Videogames sure have come a long way since Gone Home……… (zinger)

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    _[The Endless Express](!_ In this game you explore weird train stations and wait in real time for your train to arrive. Use an in-game timetable to board the right train. It's cool! And unfinished (though it does have an ending). I just love the way its little environments, and the ways they connect, hint at an entire world I want to hang out in. Probably why it stuck with me this long.