I stumbled upon this video game recreation of Henry David Thoreau’s experience in 1845 of living at Walden Pond for two years and thought it would be a great gift to send along with a canvas or a poster of the vintage book cover to a Thoreau fan friend!
Play as Henry David Thoreau in this open world game set in the woods of Walden Pond 1845. Available at www.waldengame.com
The core conceit of Walden, The Game, is surviving the eight total seasons.
“You must survive in the woods. You will die unless you have enough resources,” she said. “This survivability serves as the bedrock of the game.”
Players began, as did Thoreau, in the summer when living in the woods is “simple and charming,” Fullerton said.
“As the seasons roll on, life in the woods holds greater challenges,” she said. “If you don’t plan ahead you might find yourself without food or shelter.”
If you ignore the need for these things, you will eventually pass out and when you come to you will find yourself at a campfire in a dulled world with some of your energy restored.
Beyond needing to build a shelter and go about the day in and day out of finding food and surviving, the woods of this virtual Walden Pond are filled with small wonders and situations that you can only find by exploring beyond the places you might routinely go to forage.
Players can, for instance, happen upon a mother partridge and her chick, see a perch jump from the water or get caught in a sudden thunderstorm.
The more these moments happen, the more inspired a player is meant to become by nature and the closer their bond to the natural elements of their new lives, Fullerton said.
“Those who experience these peak moments are more apt to experience more of them and vice versa,” she said. “As one explores the virtual world the opportunity to find these moments depends on the state you’re in.
“If you explore, your inspiration will be high and you will have a better chance of finding them. If you spend your time doing chores your inspiration will be low and your game will be more like life in a grind.”
Ultimately, a player’s experiences is used to fill the game’s journal which in turn writes the player’s own version of Walden, one that can teach that life is an inspiration or that life is mean.
And it is these sorts of cooperative narrative experiences, stories shaped by an interaction between author and audience, that Fullerton thinks is most likely to lead to games that approach the sense of the sublime.
She said she thinks these sorts of sublime games are probably more than five to ten years out, but that getting there will be easier as long as people continue to strive toward this goal and share their knowledge and experiences.
“We all learn,” she said, “from each other’s crazy wanderings in the desert.”
Read full article on www.waldengame.com