Today’s post is going to be a little different. While strolling through the endless waves of social media today, I stumbled on something that I thought was interesting. A site had rated a game one of the 9th best of the year. The game had gotten great reviews, has a following and is wonderfully crafted. Perusing the comments I was shocked by a person saying that it was just a walking simulator and doesn’t deserve the 9th spot as a video game but rather as a visual novel. He says that it doesn’t have the ability to be lost or won, therefore it is not a game. He says that a story and a few puzzles aren’t enough for it to be considered a video game.
I thought on that for almost a whole second before I had to disagree.
(Photos have nothing to do with the post, but I thought they would be a good metaphor.)
The game is What Remains of Edith Finch.
So I want to break this down bit by bit and at the end, I’d love some feedback on what you guys think of this matter.
First off, I want to look at the word video game. Now there isn’t really an argument to say that this is a video of some sort. It’s not physically something we can play and hold but something that is in a virtual world that we can control from the outside of a screen. Going off that, there are several things in the world that are games that don’t have a win/lose scenario. Take one of the greatest tabletop games in the world. Dungeons & Dragons could never have fight sequence or a scenario where you have to be in a survive or die situation. It is up to the Dungeon Master to decide what the objective is, and it could be as simple as buying something from a vendor. It’s a clear goal, and that is something you have in the game in question as well. There is an end goal, and you must solve things to get there.
A lot of puzzles are considered games. Looking at the definition of ‘game’ it says, “a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.” Nowe granted it does say competitive, but it doesn’t say it is limited to that. Puzzles require a bit of skill or knowledge and often times luck. two out of the three already make this a game. This was all just by definitions alone.
Now looking at it from my point of view, I love a story and walking simulator or not, this has something that you must interact with and engage with in order for it to move. You can’t hope this is Harry Potter and put some pieces on a chess board and watch them move. It all comes from a different view and instead of being snarky as this commenter had, why not look at it from a different angle and simply watch, maybe they could have or will see something completely new. Something they never knew was there.