While some believe that ‘Walking Simulators’ as a genre is evolving it is fair to argue that it is quite the contrary. Firstly, the term ‘walking simulator’ is a, “…derogatory phrase… even though some are attempting to adopt the term as a positive label” (Goodwin, 2014). A better suited term for games like Near Death and DayZ would be exploratory visual narrative. This is supported by Gamasutra writer Ara Shirinian who comments that, “forms of media that video games are best (and uniquely) suited to express are visual narratives”

Figure 1: Map of DayZ

Although maps like DayZ will lead to a lot of walking and exploring these games should not be defined by the derogatory term ‘walking simulator’ when there are plenty of embedded and emergent stories to unfold. Dear Esther for example triggered narratives at certain locations to reveal more of the story for the player which gave the exploration meaning rather than just aimless walking as the term ‘walking sim’ infers. Walking sims are not evolving as a genre but the games the degrading term is used on have developed in multiple ways.

Figure 2: Dear Esther narrative trigger


Dear Esther Gameplay. (2016). [image] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlGdbziSwEY

Goodwin, J. (2014). Screw Your Walking Simulators – Electron Dance. [online] Electron Dance. Available at: http://www.electrondance.com/screw-your-walking-simulators/

Map of DayZ the mod. (2016). [image] Available at: http://www.millenium.org/dayz/accueil/guides/dayz-carte-map-taille-dayz-carte-map-taille-loot-zombies-apocalypse-102412

Riendeau, D. (2016). Walking Simulators are growing up and stepping out. [online] ZAM. Available at: http://www.zam.com/article/865/walking-simulators-are-growing-up-and-stepping-out

Shirinian, A. (2016). Gamasutra – The Uneasy Merging of Narrative and Gameplay. [online] Gamasutra.com. Available at: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4253/the_uneasy_merging_of_narrative_php?print=1