Virtual Explorers

25 Sep
September 25, 2014

The urge to explore is a powerful one, there is a thrill in discovery, a joy in wandering virgin territory and meeting new and exotic characters.

It’s certainly one of the most compelling aspects of this interactive medium, it’s ability to not just tantalize us with glimpses of exotic worlds, but to actually transport us to them, to place us on alien soil, inside that forgotten temple or derelict spaceship, and to let us take on the role of virtual explorers.

And while there’s some debate in the gaming sphere over whether the so-called “walking simulators” like Dear Esther count as “games” or some other thing, there’s still that joy of playful exploration, the thrill of seeing what’s around the next corner, over the next hill. Personally, I’m glad they’re made.

And with that thought, I leave you with Bernband, a freeware walking simulator set in a low-fi sci-fi city, oozing with Star Wars-cantina atmosphere.

You may be tired of the pixelated look, but give it a chance. There’s plenty of little things to discover as you poke around.

As a side note, man but there really is some great, inspiring stuff out there in the indie scene! Especially these days, as the cheaper, easier and more powerful tools have truly opened up the space to developers and designers of all stripes. I love finding projects like this, that demonstrate that it’s possible to create something that delights and feels expansive, even without a big AAA budget. I’ve grown too accustomed to being pragmatic, realistic, reasonable. To lowering my expectations and believing that some project X is out of reach unless I have a big budget to execute it. *cough* Deus Ex-alike *cough*

The indie scene helps free my thinking a bit, opens my eyes to creative solutions and low-cost design hacks. It keeps me excited and dreaming about what’s possible, rather than just what’s “realistic”.

Keep being inspiring, indie guys and gals.

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