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Poll: Are walking simulators games?

Are walking simulators games?

  • Yes.

    Votes: 18 64.3%
  • No.

    Votes: 10 35.7%

  • Total voters
    28

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
21,863
949
126
Can a movie exist without gameplay? Yes.
Can a movie exist without a story? No, some kind of fiction/non-fiction story is inherent to the definition of a movie.

Can a game exist without a story? Yes, absolutely. Some of the greatest games in history (e.g. Quake) have no story.
Can a game exist without gameplay? No, because gameplay is inherent to the definition of a game.

That’s why I don’t classify walking simulators as games. If you take away shooting from an FPS you need to replace it with another significant gameplay mechanic, such as puzzle-solving with a range of inventory objects you have to explore to find.
  • Walking around reading notes is not significant gameplay. That’s like turning the pages of a digital book.
  • Walking around using the same “multi-tool” (or generic keys) over and over to unlock doors is not significant gameplay.
  • Walking around and occasionally interacting with a digital control panel (or other fixture) is not significant gameplay.
  • Walking around and occasionally talking to a random entity is not significant gameplay.
  • Walking around and occasionally hiding from a random monster is not significant gameplay.
A simple litmus test is if a “let’s play” allows you experience virtually everything the person playing the game does, it’s probably a walking simulator. Because there’s no actual depth behind the visuals, visuals are all that’s necessary to fully portray the experience. In contrast: reflexes, aim, strategy, and problem-solving have to be experienced in person.

I’m not disputing some people enjoy these titles (I personally hate them), my argument is that I don’t consider them games. “Walking simulator”, "interactive movie”, “reactive visual novel”, (etc.) are more appropriate descriptions.

So my vote is no.
 
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NTMBK

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2011
9,312
2,733
136
If you are claiming that they don't count as games because you're just following a script and clicking on things... you should discount pretty much every Call of Duty/Battlefield single player campaign. All you do is follow a tight corridor between scripted cutscenes, clicking on bad dudes' heads.
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,723
325
126
I think you really need to define what a game is. Webster's definition is wide enough that you could throw movies in there. I think the key component to be a game is interactivity. A movie happens without you as the player. Games happen in reaction to your actions. That can be video games or board games, or even sports. They are reactive and interactive. At a low level take a choose your own adventure type book. Should that be considered a game? Absolutely as it is an interactive pastime. Walking simulators are certainly at the low end of the interactivity spectrum, but I don't think that makes them any less of a game. The player is still making decisions. The environment reacts to them. Someone just watching may be 90% of the experience, but that just means the player is acting as a director to condense the experience for their audience.

Maybe we need to define a type of media that is largely a passive experience. I'm kinda interested to see what sorts of media pops up for VR. I can see movies for it ending up very much in the walking sim spectrum. Minimally interactive. But imagine 'Avengers VR' Where things don't just happen, but instead play out in response to where you go or where you're looking. You could record the whole thing and play it back on a screen and it would probably be a fine movie, but it certainly would be different than experiencing it first hand.
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
21,863
949
126
If you are claiming that they don't count as games because you're just following a script and clicking on things... you should discount pretty much every Call of Duty/Battlefield single player campaign. All you do is follow a tight corridor between scripted cutscenes, clicking on bad dudes' heads.
This is a really good point, for the record I consider those games as basically interactive cut-scenes due to their superficial gameplay and lacking depth.

But they have one big difference over walking sims: you have to aim & shoot, and avoid getting hit. Also basic inventory and ammo management (reloading, swapping guns, etc).

So they do contain actual gameplay.

I think you really need to define what a game is.
My personal definition was quite detailed in the OP.
 
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OCNewbie

Diamond Member
Jul 18, 2000
7,603
24
81
I think the key component to be a game is interactivity.
I think this sums it up for me, particularly for video games. It's interacting with the medium, however limited that interaction may be. Though, does that make placing your order at one of those digital kiosks at McDonald's a game? I'm not sure.
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,723
325
126
My personal definition was quite detailed in the OP.
And I'd say you have a list of things it is not. That's not a definition, and vague at that. Your litmus test is based on an inaccurate assumption, completely ignoring player agency. So no, you haven't defined what a game is. The only thing you can say about your definition is 'games must have gameplay' That's a circular definition if there ever was one.
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,723
325
126
I think this sums it up for me, particularly for video games. It's interacting with the medium, however limited that interaction may be. Though, does that make placing your order at one of those digital kiosks at McDonald's a game? I'm not sure.
Lol. Maybe. I think the intention matters a lot there. Perhaps interaction with the intent to entertain or compete?
 

sweenish

Diamond Member
May 21, 2013
3,656
60
91
Given that OP's definition of a movie is too narrow, this is a discussion that will go nowhere.
 

Trudyblammer

Junior Member
Aug 2, 2017
24
3
11
If you are claiming that they don't count as games because you're just following a script and clicking on things... you should discount pretty much every Call of Duty/Battlefield single player campaign. All you do is follow a tight corridor between scripted cutscenes, clicking on bad dudes' heads.
Man..you broke my heart
 
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SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
13,293
2,929
136
Can a movie exist without gameplay? Yes.
Can a movie exist without a story? No, some kind of fiction/non-fiction story is inherent to the definition of a movie.
There are a number of movies that exist without story. The movie Koyaanisqatsi an example of one. It is almost completely random slow motion footage of cities. It contains no plot, no dialog, and no characters. It is intended to be a visual experience.

A simple litmus test is if a “let’s play” allows you experience virtually everything the person playing the game does, it’s probably a walking simulator. Because there’s no actual depth behind the visuals, visuals are all that’s necessary to fully portray the experience. In contrast: reflexes, aim, strategy, and problem-solving have to be experienced in person.

I’m not disputing some people enjoy these titles (I personally hate them), my argument is that I don’t consider them games. “Walking simulator”, "interactive movie”, “reactive visual novel”, (etc.) are more appropriate descriptions.
Who gets to decide what is 'significant'? If I made a 'game' intended for 1 year olds that made them point a mouse at a red square is that a game? My granddaughter would certainly think so. Just what is 'significant gameplay' is going to be completely dependent on the people experiencing it. I think the only real defining characteristic of 'game' we can really agree on is that it must be in some way interactive and engaging.

The line between types of art is not exclusionary or clearly defined, nor should it be. There are, and will continue to be, a lot of grey area around them. A genuine expression of art is to challenge those very notions. The lines between concepts like game, movie, and book. You could probably find examples of art that challenges the difference between of things like sculpture and game as well. I know I've seen art installations that challenged the line between sculpture and movie.
 
May 11, 2008
18,309
829
126
Lot of people define soma as a walking simulator, but i had a lot of fun with that game. As long as there is a good story that slowly unravels with some nice puzzles and good ambiance, who cares if you cannot go running around with guns blazing.
 

ImpulsE69

Lifer
Jan 8, 2010
14,793
825
126
Yes. There is no other answer. They may not be YOUR kind of games, but they are games. It's like asking if mobile games are games. Sadly, they are. What you are confusing is the concept of games versus genres. Walking Simulators are a genre of game.

Like music, just because you don't like a type of music, doesn't mean it isn't music.
 
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OCNewbie

Diamond Member
Jul 18, 2000
7,603
24
81
Related question: If they're not games, what are they? What differentiates them from movies if they're not games?
 

shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
79,076
11,977
126
yes, but keep in mind a lot of things we call games are just lazy efforts by programmers with too much to do and too little to do it with.

Some of you may recall a bunch of cheap NES games that had practically no content. They're crap games, but still games.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
3,887
788
136
Some titles that have you walking and listening to a narrator or simply moving through a level might not seem like "games" but they still require user input and interaction. Just play something else, not like there's a shortage of more action-oriented titles that involve more player interactivity.

side note: Soma is most certainly NOT a walking simulator. There is strategy in avoiding encounters, interacting with objects to progress and piecing together the story.
 

snoopy7548

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2005
6,600
3,481
136
I voted no. Farming simulator or trucking simulator, sure, there's at least some strategy and skill involved. Walking? You press forward and turn left or right. No strategy and no skill, no challenge at all. Not a game. You might as well call moving a mouse cursor around on your Windows desktop a game - Cursor Simulator.
 

Rebel_L

Senior member
Nov 9, 2009
408
25
91
I voted no. Farming simulator or trucking simulator, sure, there's at least some strategy and skill involved. Walking? You press forward and turn left or right. No strategy and no skill, no challenge at all. Not a game. You might as well call moving a mouse cursor around on your Windows desktop a game - Cursor Simulator.
I remember when my school got its first apple 2 GS's, these were the first computers with a mouse in the school. The mouse tutorial that came with it was an awesome game to us at the time.
 
May 11, 2008
18,309
829
126
Some titles that have you walking and listening to a narrator or simply moving through a level might not seem like "games" but they still require user input and interaction. Just play something else, not like there's a shortage of more action-oriented titles that involve more player interactivity.

side note: Soma is most certainly NOT a walking simulator. There is strategy in avoiding encounters, interacting with objects to progress and piecing together the story.
Soma also looks very good. I had a lot of fun with that game. And the inability to defend which i am used to with fps games, does not apply, so there is definitely a sense of being powerless and overpowered and it indeed asks for a different strategy. But that is the fun. And the rush when surviving is way bigger then just shooting like gun blazing Tex on bath salts.
 

zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
105,938
20,891
136
If the game has multiple paths or endings depending on which things you clicked before completing, then yes, it absolutely is a game. That would meet, I think, the actual definition of a game. I'm also not sure that your standards are anything more than just your standards for what you want a game to be. (or as midwayman more accurately refined: what you claimed that games are not)

The Myst games are absolutely games, and you can certainly experience everything from a Let's Play from that as you would from actually playing it.
 

HeXen

Diamond Member
Dec 13, 2009
7,818
30
91
I enjoy them. It's an experience but you can call it whatever you want because whether you consider it a game or not really is that irrelevant. The genre seems to have slowed down a bit though but Everyone's Gone To The Rapture is probably my favorite. That said there are other genre's you can turn into walking sim, such as GTA 5..just walk around and observe, there ya go.
 

FreshBross

Member
Jul 30, 2018
50
1
6
If you go on steam you'll find many walking simulators in the simulation tab. Walking simulators are games, especially with VR! Just moving through a virtual world to enjoy the scenic routes and the sounds of nature is enough for people to purchase these games.
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
21,863
949
126
And I'd say you have a list of things it is not. That's not a definition, and vague at that.
Next time try reading the OP before responding. Thanks.

Your litmus test is based on an inaccurate assumption, completely ignoring player agency.
What does that even mean?

So no, you haven't defined what a game is.
Yes I have: In contrast: reflexes, aim, strategy, and problem-solving have to be experienced in person.

It says so right in the OP which I quoted for you. Walking simulators don't have any of those things so they're not games.
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
13,293
2,929
136
The person playing it. In case it wasn't clear, I'm stating opinion with reasons why I hold that opinion.
As was I. I then attempted to give you some reasons to reconsider that opinion. Words do need to have some common accepted understanding for them to be useful, they can't be pure subjective opinion. I can give you an opinion that anything that uses the color blue is not a game, but that would not be a useful definition for anyone but me, so what is the point?

You asked the question, so one assumes you wanted debate. If you just wanted people to agree with you then you probably don't want to be on the internet.
 

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