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The Role of Non-goal-oriented Exploration in Walking Simulator Games
|Issue Date:||2021-03-02 14:52:50 (UTC+8)|
“Walking simulator” is a controversial tag for video games that generally eschew any type of gameplay outside of movement and environmental interaction based on walking around. It is generally considered that the fun of exploration and discovery is the driving appeal of walking simulators. This paper argues that the non-goal-oriented exploration is an important game mechanism that has not been taken seriously. In walking simulator games, users cannot expect to encounter the challenges and tasks in mainstream games, but in this way, they can perceive the fun of the game in a more flexible and active way. Therefore, this type of game has the potential to arouse the curiosity of researchers in different cultural communities and academic fields, and even become a stepping stone for users who lack game experience to enter the game world.
This study uses the 2015 walking simulator game Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist to carry out a four-steps research. Eight participants were asked to complete the whole game. Through observation and interviews, the behaviors and feelings of these participants were recorded and analyzed. This study explores how they perform non-goal-oriented exploration in walking simulator games, and how the performance differs between different player types.
The results demonstrate that users with gaming habits often have specific expectations toward video games, and therefore it is more difficult to get good experience in walking simulator games. On the other hand, users who do not have gaming habits are more likely to be triggered by the surrounding environment and to perform non-goal-oriented exploration behaviors. During their exploration, they repeatedly endow the space with meaning, creating their own narrative and aesthetic pleasures.
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