In­ter­ac­tive Sto­ry­tellers (a.k.a. Walk­ing Sim­u­la­tors)

HWM (Malaysia) - - GAX - SPIN-OFF -

A new twist to an old genre, walk­ing sim­u­la­tors hail from the old-school genre of in­ter­ac­tive fic­tion as seen in text-only ad­ven­ture games on home com­put­ers in the late 70’s. They are, how­ever, a new breed of sto­ry­tellers that present an in­ter­ac­tive, graph­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment to the player, of­ten in a first-per­son per­spec­tive and with an amount of nar­ra­tion based on the goals of the de­vel­oper. The player can freely move around, ex­plore the en­vi­ron­ment, and progress with any in­cluded nar­ra­tion, but the player tend not to have spe­cial abil­i­ties, such as com­bat, or the like typ­i­cally found in games of other gen­res. In­ter­ac­tive fic­tion was re-pop­u­lar­ized in 2011 by The Stan­ley Para­ble as a free mod for Half-Life 2, which saw an award-win­ning, high-def­i­ni­tion stand­alone re­make on Steam Green­light in the fol­low­ing year. Other no­table ti­tles in­clude an­other Half

Life 2 mod-turned-stand­alone-ti­tle Dear Es­ther, Full­bright’s award-win­ning Gone Home in 2013, and Among the Sleep by Nor­we­gian de­vel­oper Krill­bite Stu­dio.

Even AAA pub­lish­ers have taken note of the com­mer­cial suc­cess of this genre, with Square Enix re­leas­ing the highly-ac­claimed episodic ad­ven­ture se­ries Life is Strange early this year. The cre­ator of The Stan­ley Para­ble re­turned this year with The Begin­ner’s Guide, an­other in­stantly pop­u­lar hit. Over the last sev­eral years, this genre has grad­u­ally ex­panded into the hor­ror scene, most no­tably with Fric­tional Games’ Am­ne­sia: The Dark De­scent in 2010 and its just-re­leased SOMA, as well as Red Bar­rels’ Out­last in 2013. Look out for the genre’s broad ap­pli­ca­tions in the VR space in the com­ing years, with de­vel­op­ment al­ready in the works to take ad­van­tage of im­mer­sion-en­hanc­ing pe­riph­er­als, such as the Ocu­lus Rift.

Life is Strange

The Stan­ley Para­ble

Gone Home

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