I develop small indie games in my free time and have made well over 20 at this point. This is one of my earliest publicly-released games, and my abilities as a game developer have certainly improved since I made it. However, because of the game has received some recognition, I wanted to talk about it here! In "This Is Just A Normal, Run-Of-The-Mill Walking Simulator And Everything Is Fine, Don’t Worry About It," you explore an enclosed 3D space filled with 2D people, as the space slowly fills with water.
This game was made for a game development class I took in 2017 at UC Davis. It is, as its name suggests, a walking simulator. Walking simulators are often centered around exploration and observation, rather than action, and I focused on that to create an anxiety-inducing gameplay experience. As you walk around what is essentially the interior of a large box, you can bump into the 2D cardboard-cutout-like people scattered about the space to reveal a speech bubble above their head through which they ask you something, with questions ranging from requesting a favor to guilt-tripping you over perceived faults. After a few moments, water begins to rise all around you. Drawing on walking simulators' frequent lack of many options for taking action to influence the gameworld, you are unable to stop the water from rising. After about 10 minutes of playtime, the water reaches your head, and the game ends.
In early 2020, "This Is Just A Normal, Run-Of-The-Mill Walking Simulator And Everything Is Fine, Don’t Worry About It" was part of the the Video Game Art Gallery's exhibition "System Link: Video Game as Memoir," along with a number of incredible games by some wonderful game devs. The exhibition focused on different ways personal stories have been translated into video games, and what it means to let the player of a game into your story. The game was was discussed as part of a larger discussion of the System Link exhibition on The Kickstarter Games Podcast episode "A Relationship With Your Vacuum Cleaner."
This was one of the first games of mine that I made public, and it holds a special place in my heart. It's odd, and experimental, and I've really enjoyed watching or hearing people play it. The podcast episode linked above was a special experience to listen to - it was really rewarding to hear people react to the shock I'd hoped the rising water would cause.