There’s no Lockdown Simulator 2020 to busy our hands with so far (Edit: Or maybe there is), so I’ve been trying to find games that can in some way reflect our current house-bound frustrations. ‘Surely’ you ask, ‘wouldn’t seeking out vast open worlds allowing boundless freedom and exploration be the better gaming jaunt?’, well to you I say, ‘Yes possibly, however, what’s virtual freedom going to do but make you long for it even more?’. Instead, proposed here is a series of games that takes the lockdown scenario, and at least makes it less bloody boring…
P.T. (PS4 2014)
This Playable Teaser for a future, yet never realized, Silent Hill sequel sees you forever wandering the halls of a suburban home, trapped within some sort of inescapable loop while being constantly harangued by your Goth flatmate, Lisa.
It’s one of the best demos ever released and considering all you can really do is walk around, it speaks volumes of the teaser’s atmosphere, pacing and design.
P.T. was made available only on the PlayStation store and less than a year later was taken down, fans who had already downloaded the title previously could not even re-download the teaser for future play, leading to instances of PS4 units being sold on eBay with the game still installed for upwards of $1,000.
While the official teaser itself is no longer available, many fan-made remakes have since sprung up for short bursts before the demo’s original publisher Konami will step in to shut them down. Should you be one of the lucky few to still own a copy of P.T. on your PS4, dive back into this fright-fueled walking sim and immerse yourself in a bit more of a spooktacular lockdown scenario.
The Stanley Parable (PC/macOS/Linux 2011)
Stuck indoors with only the voice in your head for company simulator The Stanley Parable is an experimental and highly praised affair.
You, the titular Stanley, can move around at your own free will. That’s the gameplay element of this title sorted at least. However, one small hitch, there’s a disembodied voice narrating all your expected actions and he won’t be too happy if you start to stray from the script.
Trapped within a series of seemingly never-ending corridors at times, The Stanley Parable is essentially part walking sim and part choose your own adventure book, with the narrator suggesting what you should do, while the level design teases you with what you could do, leading to a differing series of outcomes depending on the decisions you make in the game.
As a person who routinely enjoys standing near others before narrating their life and actions like a David Attenborough documentary to annoy them, I found great fun in being on the other end of that annoyance in this game.
Devoid of any other real human presence, Stanley feels like the one guy in the office who hasn’t figured out how to work from home yet, it’s curiously funny narrative threads will, however, make you forget all that as you hunt down ways to annoy or please our disembodied games master to reveal the games numerous endings.
The Stanley Parable is currently available on PC, macOS and Linux, an Ultra Deluxe version of the game is currently in development that should see the title ported to consoles at Q1 2021 earliest.
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