Sitrep: Rise of the Beast Machines, or “Why Animal Simulators Are A Thing Now”

Bear Simulator

By on March 26, 2014 at 2:53 pm

You know what I think is cool, is when something plays itself out. I don’t think it’s cool at the time, though. No one does. I mean, no one wants to sit there playing dumb games with no imagination. That’s bad. The good part is when everyone starts turning their backs on boredom, when there is a demonstrable cultural shift away from a status quo. The thing that played out and got boring suddenly realises it has to get interesting. In its blind animal panic, sometimes it will overcompensate and literally became a panicking blind animal.

Guns, bazongas (teach me about them!), swords and sorcery: Never mind that noise anymore, because Bear Simulator just hit its fundin’ money target in a week. And to think, I was bitching about KickStarter just as long ago. I take it all back.

What I don’t back is the sentiment that Bear Simulator would not have managed this unlikely feat were the majors not phoning it in so hard. That something as patently stupid as being a bear is not just a breath of fresh air but an essential blast of oxygen to everyone gaming in the void is very funny but the palm of my hand is getting a sexy workout with my stupid face.

Likewise its super-close predecessor, Goat Simulator. This is also the stupidest thing ever, and received the kind of mass gaming media attention high-powered deals are frequently brokered with the hope of ensuring. It’s not just the novelty of these pieces. Novelty alone does not command this kind of willing attention from an industry this jaded, and that’s pretty much the point right there.

You could argue the seeds (of madness) were sewn as far back as Tokyo Jungle, though the always-startled West had little time for its animal kingdom lunacy then. What a difference a day makes – a day of new consoles with nothing new to play, snort.

Are the #normcore masses actively craving the kind of weird-ass crap that Japan sprinkles on its morning miso, or are they being dictated to by played-it-all-bored-now tastemakers? Only sales or the promise of sales speak the truth, which itself is an uncomfortable truth: Something borderline for its day like Beyond Good & Evil, say, was fawned over to a fault by critics. It sold comparatively zip despite that. Something like Bear Simulator in 2014 has shut everyone up and taken their money in one week, and it doesn’t even exist yet. Anecdotally at least, yeah. The majority are losing it, and when normal people start acting crazy, they’re bored.

Why now? And why animals? Ultimately it’s not about that. It’s just about the fact that it’s new and little and yellow and different. It’s also good, because as is the way of things, it will only take Bear Simulator’s assured domination to stoke experimentation in the risk-averse corporate dev world. Then they’ll make a hit out of the little people’s discontent and monetise it and we’ll have goddamn bear sims every year until that becomes the new ennui-vil and do you see how capitalism thrives off of socialism? Someone make a game where you literally play as the irony of the human condition.

6 comments (Leave your own)

Mostly I get amused at “hardcore” gamers who make snarky comments about console/mobile casuals, that then go and get excited about these games.

THIS ENTERTAINS ME.

But there’s a solid market of people who are willing to throw a few bucks at something to have a few laughs.

 

I have to say it’s hard not to be snarky about mobile casual games when they’re mean spirited soulless coin grab like Dungeon Keeper, F2P unless you actually want to PLAY the game and totally lacking the spirit of it’s predecessor which made it attractive.

The same can be said for in-universe/titled games like the Mass Effect and Deadspace game on droid, although they’re also published by EA (and this is not a jab at EA, it could be Valve/Activision peddling this shit too) they’re pay-once and play, games not really suited to touch screen controls/their UI are awful, neither compelling in a way to justify handing over the $15 or so bucks for it.

I think Flappy Bird and it’s derivatives are a perfect example of a casual “game” that went viral for all the same reasons as goat simulator, there’s really nothing to them aside from silly simplistic mechanics, very few goals, no attempt at story telling and they marketed by virtue of the consumer word of mouth and wanting something that doesn’t feel like a broken promise and as awful as they may be, it’s more gratifying than a slap in the face.

In all, a few laughs, a few frustrated minutes/hours on the train are well worth throwing a few bucks at a product that at best seems absurd, at worst is a stupid pile of crap but still enjoyable in a “This B-Film is terrible but it’s better than paying to see Resident Evil in 3D, if you catch my drift.

 

There’s only one thing I want to know.

Where is Cat Simulator? SOMEONE GET ON THIS!

 
 

Gotta agree with you on this one Toby. I think it’s appalling that in an industry which creates virtual worlds, where literally anything is possible the best the biggest names in the industry can come up with is “Levolution” or some shit like that.

This sort of thing gives me hope that there are still people out there keen to have the mold broken.

 

I could go for a Dog’s Life reboot about now to be honest.

 
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