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What do the creators of Dear Esther think about the term Walking Simulator?

Jog on.

The people who create genre-defining video games aren't always the same people that go on to decide what that genre should be called. We talked about that on this week's podcast, as we cast our mind back to a time when first-person shooters were known simply as 'Doom clones'. Weird.

But some genre names are kinder than others. Back in 2012, when Dear Esther was first commercially released, it sparked a debate that's still seems somewhat unresolved. Its critics lashed out, claiming that a game with such a limited amount of interaction wasn't really a game at all. No, this was just a 'walking simulator'.

Four years on, we spoke to The Chinese Room about this conversation they unknowingly sparked. With some hindsight, is Dear Esther really a video game? Or is it a walking simulator? And does any of that really bloody matter?

They've probably never had someone ask them these kinds of questions before.

Cover image for YouTube videoWhat do the creators of Dear Esther think about the term Walking Simulator?

The game's just been rereleased on the PS4 and Xbox One, with an accompanying director's commentary that I think we may have rudely interrupted when we arrived at the studio to film our interview. Still feeling pretty guilty about that. Sorry.

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Dear Esther

PS4, Xbox One, PC

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About the Author
Chris Bratt avatar

Chris Bratt


Chris is the host of People Make Games, a crowdfunded YouTube channel that tells cool stories about video games and how they're made.