Shifting Borders

Walking Simulators, Artgames, and the Categorical Compulsions of Gaming Discourse

  • Andrew Remington Bailey York University


This paper looks at how the walking simulatorand artgame categories intersect, before comparatively analyzing two game designers whose work functions to disrupt the notions of genre these terms exemplify. The first work is Bill Viola’s The Night Journey (Game Innovation Lab & Viola, 2007), a gallery installation that many early game studies scholars used to help them first define how videogames could function as art. Following this, the paper compares Viola’s work to Connor Sherlock’s (2015) cheekily titled “Walking Simulator A Month Club.” With this project, Sherlock uses the and Patreon platforms to release a new experimental walking simulator game every month. Like The Night Journey, each of Sherlock’s games are ambiguously rendered and non-goal oriented. To conclude, this paper uses these two examples to investigate the potentially useful relations that can be uncovered between the experiences of traversing gallery and game space.

August 26, 2019