Miguel Penabella is a writer and literary academic whose works have appeared in publications such as Haywire Magazine, Killscreen, First Person Scholar, among others. His website, Invalid Memory, mostly hosts excerpts and links to his work published elsewhere, with some exceptions, but it is nonetheless a useful hub through which to follow his work.
“Why Are We So Afraid to Walk?” is, so far, my favourite piece of Penabella’s, not only because it is tightly and beautifully written, but because it airs positions on “walking simulators” too rarely voiced, including several I’ve held myself since the style first found its footing in the medium and began to climb into a position of focus for many of us. As Penabella states, “a lack of common critical understanding is failing these games.”
Scroll past the article summary below and follow the link through to the full text over at Killscreen.
What—you don’t mind a bit of a walk, do you?
Developers who craft first-person walker games certainly have intended consumers, a demographic I would imagine as the equivalent of cineastes that venerate arthouse films—like Gus Van Sant’s audience, for example. There is a particular kind of mindset necessary when approaching first-person walker games. One must think of these works in relation to one another under a common criteria, much in the same way that we can examine a catalog of Italian neorealist films or a compilation of magical realist novels. To think and write about these videogames without consideration of the burgeoning artistic movement fails to precisely identify what makes them significant. In many ways, first-person walker games serve as definite evidence of a trailblazing, artistically cohesive movement of artists that can be thoroughly examined and defined.
Read the full text at Kill Screen.