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Discussion > Video GamesMay 15, 2023 8:00 am CT

What games are your favorite walking simulators?

There’s nothing like a nice walk to open your eyes to new discoveries, even in familiar territory. I’ve always been struck by the descriptions of the walks through myriad worlds taken by Corwin, prince of Amber, in The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny. His power to walk through reality is grounded in the importance of noticing details, changing the colors of the sky, the texture of the ground beneath his feet, and even the scent of trees to match the specific world he envisions.

This sense of discovery —as well as appreciating the beauty of their rendered environments— is part of the delight I take in exploring the games I play. While I love questing and progressing in World of Warcraft, its allure for me is often as a de facto walking simulator. There’s nothing like a ride through the Redridge Pass at night, stopping to admire the moons and the starry sky. Skyrim, for me, consists of a series of long hikes through an astounding environment that are occasionally interrupted by local pests.

Other games might be more specifically about journeying and appreciating the environment. Eastshade does not include combat at all. The player is a painter, capturing the world in works of art through the mechanics of taking screenshots. Journey, whose title is its very sum, is a melancholy gem of a game, abstract and beautiful and fulfilling. There is also the delightful A Short Hike, which can be completed in a few hours and is about puzzles mixed with a little platforming and a lot of sheer joy — especially when it turns into a flying simulator in the glorious moments after completing your goal.

So, what about you? Do you have any favorite games whose environments you love to explore? Do you know of any good walking simulators or games that you’d recommend for the beauty of the journeying through their worlds? Let us know in the comments.

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