Sometimes all you want is a game where you can just chill out. A game without guns, monsters, a game where there is no one to threaten your existence.
There are a number of games that fit this mold: Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, My Time At Portia, Rune Factory, etc. The only issue is that these games are heavy on resource and inventory management. They require farming, harvesting, and the collecting of materials. There’s also some light dungeon exploring (though it’s option, it still exists in the game).
Walking simulators are different though, they satisfy that same itch but do what they say on the box: walking in a simulated environment. I’m thinking about games like Firewatch, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Many of these games have light puzzle solving elements and/or mysteries to solve. You might have to pull a lever or look at a map. But for the most part you’re alone in a world of nature, the sounds of leaves swaying in the breeze, the sound of rain, footsteps echoing along a pathway.
I’ve craved this type of game so much that I’ve shoehorned it into others. I love the environments and the worlds of Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Fallout 4. I love walking around and exploring every nook and cranny. Sadly, unlike the walking simulators I referenced up above, you’re going to be dealing with a lot of demons, monsters, and enemies. It’s a shame there’s not a tourist mode (the most recent Assassin’s Creeds added this option) in other games and worlds.
We need more calm, we need a way to just chill out in nature. Birdspotting is an upcoming game from developers Joram van Loenen and Khalil Arafan that will give gamers just that, a place to wander around in nature and enjoy some birds. Just a bit of calm and chill. In this world of ugly politics and environmental instability, it’s nice to have a place like this to live inside of for a little while.