Walking Simulators

Walking Simulators

Jamie Hoxsey, Writer

I don’t like puzzles. I don’t want to fight anyone. I truly just want to walk around and explore in a fictional world with a nice story. These kinds of video games have been somewhat cruelly deemed “walking simulators.” Here are some that have been called the best and you should give them a try.


  • Firewatch

Firewatch is a mystery adventure game set in the Wyoming wilderness in the Shoshone National Park a year after the historic fires at Yellowstone in 1988. We follow and play first person as Henry, a fire lookout on his first day of work. He interacts with another fire lookout, Delilah, who shows him the ropes. The player can choose how to interact with Delilah and how to change the storyline. As the game progresses, a mystery develops. 


  • What Remains of Edith Finch

This adventure game focuses on Edith Finch as she returns to her childhood home affected by a “curse” where every member of a generation except one family member dies in some unusual way. We go through each death, unraveling the history of the Finch family one member at a time as we travel around the land. 


  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

This story takes place in a small English village. All the villagers have disappeared without a known cause, except the player. The objective is to explore and try to unearth the reason why everyone is gone through flashbacks and transcripts on radios, TVs, and other forms of media. 


  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Another mystery game, a detective searches for a missing boy. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter takes on more of a horror element, explicitly saying in the beginning that the game “will not hold the player’s hand.” You can roam the open world at free will to find clues and explore to find the reason for the death of the Carter family and the missing boy. 


Honorable Mention that I haven’t played

  • The Stanley Parable

As you walk around in Stanley’s body, a voice narrates everything you do, making statements about what you will do. You get to choose to obey or disregard those commands, and even sequence break the game to get to normally inaccessible locations. However, everything that happens always has a narration to show the developers knew you were going to do the thing you did and wanted you to do it.

These games aren’t for everyone, but they have compelling stories and beautiful worlds. If you get bored easily by more combat-centered games, maybe try a walking simulator.