This is a fansite devoted to walking simulators, a personal favorite game genre of mine.

This site uses the term “Walking Simulator” as a loose term for games that are mainly focused on exploration (whether of a large space or a single room), contemplation, usually don’t have any game mechanics (or have very basic mechanics), and tend to be without an explicit success or failure state. This encompasses big- and small-budget games, demos, student work, mods that make games peaceful, games from game jams, story games, adventure games, the lot of them. That being said I’m not trying to include everything on this site, and I know some folks will disagree with my taxonomies, preferences, choices, whatever. This site represents my opinions only. It’s a bunch of games I either like very much, or at least find interesting.

There’s been a reasonable amount of gaming press about walking sims as a (sub-?) genre in the past few years (see here, for one), and seemingly nobody is out there collecting/cataloging these games, so I thought it would be a fun project to do so. Why me? Why not? I’m not an expert by a long shot about the gaming industry, although I’ve played games my whole life and have recently dabbled in developing a few, but I have a lot of love for this kind of work, and it seems like a worthwhile exercise to catalog some of it.

I also firmly believe in the idea of games-as-art, and a lot of interesting work is being done on the edges of the medium, whether by small teams, students, hobbyists, whoever. The term “walking sim” gets used derisively these days (although less now in 2018 than a couple years ago), but I find this kind of game - or experience, whatever you want to call it - really interesting. The term “walking sim” has been duly co-opted as a more neutral definition of the type rather than as an insult, and there are now a few sites taking the phenomenon relatively seriously (I always love Rock Paper Shotgun’s coverage, as well as Kill Screen). And games and interactive software generally are a really fertile ground for new kinds of expression, as well as voices you don’t traditionally hear in the world of more mainstream games.

This is especially true as the barrier to entry to developing video games comes way down - most of the tools are free, there’s a wealth of online information (and even free courses), and tons of art assets for cheap, free, or in the public domain. It’s a great time to get involved in games, because even as the professional video games industry suffers from overwork scandals and razor-thin margins, the tools and resources currently available to the hobbyist are incredible.

About the Games

Most if not all of the games here are released on PC (and Mac/Linux, in a lot of cases). There are a few console games included, but for the most part this is about small or hobbyist games, which are mostly absent from the big consoles. They range from AAA stuff released by Ubisoft to game demos done in a day or two by students. The vast majority of what I’m listing here is free or inexpensive, so trying stuff out (and even making it!) is easy.

Also, I don’t own the copyright for anything up here - this is a fansite, and I’m highlighting other people’s work that I like. I don’t take credit for any of the games here.

To find great small games, check out Itch, Game Jolt, Glorious Trainwrecks, and Steam (as well as sites like GOG, which specializes in older games).

Making Your Own Games

The tools to make games like this are readily available these days for free or cheap. Check out Unity, Unreal Engine, and Godot, all excellent and full-featured general purpose game engines. Amazon Lumberyard is also available but I haven’t really tried it out yet. There are also much smaller and more specialized engines, like Bitsy, RPG Maker, Game Maker, and tons more.

Art assets are similarly widely available - Unity has its own store, as does Unreal Engine, and both include free and low cost packages. Itch has a listing, and there are plenty more for the finding - OpenGameArt, Reddit’s /r/gameassets, GameDevMarket, and tons of sites with free 3D models and textures. Fonts, sounds, etc. and all also out there.

Contributing etc.

If you would like a game added or removed, please shoot me an email at alec [at] marchfrog {dottt} com. I’m open to suggestions, contributions, etc. and I’d love to hear what you think.

If you’d like your work removed please let me know and I’ll accommodate as soon as I can.

About Me

I’m just some guy, you know? My name is Alec and I love playing games with my kids and writing about it sometimes. I’ve made a couple games myself, which I’m not including in the list (because that feels cheesy), but you can download them here.