Suggestions for art-house game trailers
September 24, 2019 5:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for trailers for highly artistic, atmospheric exploration games, first person and non-violent. I have seen games like Everything but I'm thinking of something more human.

I was chatting with the graphic novelist Seth at his exhibit at the Art Gallery of Guelph about his fictional city Dominion. Originally conceived for a graphic novel that never saw fruition, he has a general street layout in his mind as well as numerous stories about the streets, structures and inhabitants. I suggested that all that ready-made content would make an excellent computer game, and promised to send him high examples of the art. Although dismissive of technology in years past, he has warmed to the idea after working with an animator, and agreed to view anything I send him.

The stretch goal would be for negotiations resulting in one of these small game shops taking on the project and bringing this deeply realized city to life.
posted by CynicalKnight to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not knowledgeable enough about games to give specific recommendations, but I think the search term you're looking for is "walking simulator."
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:34 PM on September 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

What Remains of Edith Finch
posted by justkevin at 5:36 PM on September 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Witness

The Talos Principle

The Stanley Parable

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Gone Home

why yes these are my favourite kinds of games why do you ask
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 7:38 PM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

How about moody black & white? The Unfinished Swan
posted by lemon_icing at 8:14 PM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Tacoma. Seconding Edith Finch. Gone Home was good, but Edith Finch and Tacoma are better.

For non-violent and really mind-bendy, Antichamber. Not a walking simulator, but a puzzle game. I don't know what tone you're going for, but Antichamber doesn't do a strong story so much as it shows what one can do with video games, in terms of breaking geometry (things change when you turn around twice, things appear from one perspective but vanish from another) and such. Pretty good review here.

I've heard good things about Firewatch and the Vanishing of Ethan Carter (I own this one, but haven't played it yet).
posted by Hactar at 12:00 AM on September 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Turing Test - You are an astronaut investigating the sudden halt in communication from a ground station on the Jovian moon Europa. What you find is that someone has elaborately reconfigure the station layout, and added a series of puzzles that are designed to be solved by humans, but insoluble by machines. As you search the station, you also encounter clues as to what the researchers there discovered, and the potential cosmic wonder and cosmic horror that may come of it. Whether you choose to see it as wonder or as horror will help you in the game's final act, its one and only act of violence that you can decide to commit, or not commit, depending on your view. (You do have a gun throughout, but its only job is to perform the function of moving these energy balls, which power doors and platforms and such.)

As in the Talos Principle (also quite good, and not dissimilar puzzles), you are gradually invited into a philosophical discussion on the nature of sentience and humanity.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:02 AM on September 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

I read your question and immediately thought of the trailer for Eskil Steenberg's abortive indie project Love, one of my all-time favorites. Not only does it still look gorgeous 10+ years after the fact, but it marries pitch-perfect music with careful visual storytelling to lay out the essence of the game -- mysterious world, magical user-driven construction, communal multiplayer -- in a really evocative way that leaves you yearning to learn more. It's a real shame Minecraft stole its thunder and Steenberg got derailed into other pet projects.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:08 AM on September 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Dear Esther is one of the first popular atmospheric walking simulator.
posted by jclarkin at 4:38 AM on September 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Check out The Long Dark.
posted by mike_honcho at 5:28 AM on September 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

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