Are Simulation Games Actually “Games?’

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The game I chose for this assignment is Goat Simulator. Goat Simulator is a simulation game created by Coffee Stain Studios on Computers and by Double Eleven on consoles. This game is available through Steam, Xbox One, Play Station 4 and even on the app store. I downloaded the game on my Xbox One during the past summer and played it for a long time. It is a third person game where you are a goat and get placed in an environment. I would categorize it as a Sandbox game, like we talked about in class. You play as the goat and have different abilities he can perform and go around interacting with different parts of the map. There are cars, citizens, trampolines and the list goes on and on.  The controls to the game are very basic too. While controlling the goat you move with the analog sticks and every other main control is the buttons. You can head butt with the trigger and lick, special power, jump and rag doll are the buttons (XYAB). My favorite part about playing this “game” was exploring and finding new things. There were many different objects, buildings etc. that you could interact with the goat. For example, on one of the maps on Xbox version there was a batting cage and if you walked up to the pitching machine it would attach to the goats back and could be used as a gun. You could also unlock special “Mutations” which you could then go to the main menu and change the look and abilities of the goat. However, there were no indications, hints or objectives that would lead you to know this. The only way to unlock these special abilities and looks was to explore the map on your own. There were a few missions that the game gives you but are not necessary to be able to play the game. There are no guidelines to what you have to do or when you have to do it, which is a main reason I would say this game pushes the boundaries of being called a “game.” Below is famous YouTuber PewDiePie reviewing the game.

Objectives was one the major components to a game that we discussed in class. In goat simulator there are no objectives that you need to complete in order to move forward in the game. Exploration is the only objective but is not necessary to play majority of the game. In Grand Theft Auto, which is another sandbox type game, you need to complete missions to unlock certain parts of the map or certain weapons. The fact that there aren’t any KEY objectives which are essential to complete the game makes me wonder if it is a game at all. I have unlocked all possible mutations, majority I found by exploring on my own and a few through YouTube video. Another component that this game lacks is rules, though there are boundaries and you can’t go past there are no rules to follow. The goat can basically do anything without any repercussion, he doesn’t die, there are no cops or people who try and attack the goat. Most games usually have a story line but goat simulator has no storyline at all. You just get spawned into the map and simply explore the world. That is another reason it pushes the boundaries of being an actual game. There is no beginning and end to it, you simply play for as long of a session as you want to. You could play the game for 2 years’ worth of gameplay time and it would be the same as when you first unlocked everything. A comparison could be GTA, when you beat the game it gets boring but you could always restart and do the story mode over again. In Goat Simulator there is no story or real objectives so it gets boring very fast in my opinion. It was very cool to explore and find all the new things but once that’s over and you know where everything is there is not much to do. To the games credit there are some mini game modes, there is an option to do a race and you have to follow checkpoints to finish but it has no significance other than trying to beat your previous times.

IGN Goat Simulator Review

The above article from IGN even stated that they don’t consider it a game in their Verdict section. One of the most interesting takeaways I got from this article was that the creators of the game embrace the bugs and glitches that happen. They say that it makes the game better and more funny and they even vowed to never fix these bugs because it makes the game better. This further proves how Goat Simulator can push the limits of being considered a game. Most games and game creators want their game to be perfect and bug free, but the fact that they think glitches and bugs enhance the game shows it isn’t really relevant. But Goat Simulator was a hugely popular game and is still played to this day on the three platforms it is available on. I agree with IGN on the fact that Goat Simulator is not a game but it is a hell of a good time. I first got the game a couple days after I had a surgery which made me bed ridden for 3 days and the only thing that got me through it was Game of Thrones and my new “game” Goat Simulator. I stopped playing for a long time until this assignment and never thought in depth if it was actually a game until now. In conclusion I would have to say it is not a game because it is missing crucial guidelines to be considered a game.

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