Isn’t walking great? I adore wandering semi-aimlessly, looking at stuff and thinking about things. Now modern technological advancements mean we can complement our walks with virtual walks from the comfort of our own homes. What times we live in! Shall we walk?
It strikes me that the most famous walking simulators are set in relatively familiar places. They wander countryside, cities, forests, and offices, even if these are sometimes a bit metaphysical or metafictional. For our second walk together, let’s head off in the direction of the weird and alien and unsettling to see something different. Let’s look at Césure, a free game by Orihaus.
Césure is a small game but set around something huge, some terrible glowing monolith, or artefact, or lifeform, or… thing. Winding stairs, gantries, walkways, and devices are wrapped around, pierced by, and warped by this oddity. It is quiet, but not silent. Perfect glossy polyhedrons and spheres float, rotating by themselves. The object is alien. The structure is human. It looks like the object won.
I’ve tried not to show the scale or every interesting part so you can enjoy discovering it all yourself.
Descending the stairs, the structure gets more and more broken and overrun. By the time you reach the black waters at the bottom, and perhaps explore the blurry distant banks and islands, it’s clear why no one else is around. Or it isn’t. It isn’t at all. Césure doesn’t say anything about what this scene is or what happened here. You’re plonked in and left to explore, experience, and, only if you fancy, speculate. Like this alien object, Césure is simply there.
As we’ll see over our weeks, months, years, and decades of walking together, a lot of very different game are lumped together under “walking simulator”. They’re puzzle games, platformers, interactive fiction, horror, places to walk and explore, or bits of all these. Sometimes you don’t even walk.
We’re only dipping our toe into The Unusual Pond with Césure. We’ll wander more-abstract places as find our feet together, I’m sure, and maybe even skinny dip in the pond. Orihaus cited the work of Aliceffekt and increpare as influences on Césure, and we’ll see more of them later.