A Short Hike Is a Shining Example of Non-Violent Video Games

Violence in video video games has been a heated subject of debate because the medium first got here to prominence within the cultural mainstream. Mortal Kombat was one of many first video games to exhibit the potential of online game graphics to indicate more and more life-like depictions of violence, sparking an issue that will comply with the medium for years after. To many, the claims appear spurious within the face of numerous players who take pleasure in violent video games and handle to go about their lives with out leaving a path of destruction of their wake. As a result of let’s face it, violent video games are enjoyable as hell.

Check out a few of the most influential and common video games of the medium, and also you’ll discover that violence is a significant side of their core gameplay loop. It’s troublesome to consider many video games that don’t incorporate violence in some form or type. Even Tremendous Mario, a franchise lauded particularly for its family-friendly nature, nonetheless has gamers stomping on Goombas and Koopas to achieve their purpose. Violence could also be enjoyable, nevertheless it appears for many video games to be the first manner by way of which the participant can work together with the sport and its world. That is why it’s so fascinating that A Short Hike, an unobtrusive little indie gem, managed to do one thing relatively attention-grabbing with reference to its in-game violence; there’s none.

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A Brief Intro


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A Brief Hike was launched in 2019 by developer adamgryu. The sport follows a younger hen named Claire visiting Hawk Peak Provincial Park, the place her Aunt Might works as a ranger. Claire is anticipating an necessary name from her mom, however the park has very poor reception. Aunt Might suggests making the infamously troublesome hike to Hawk Peak, the tallest mountain within the park, to have a greater probability at receiving her mom’s name. From right here, the participant takes management of Claire as she explores the park, interacts with the inhabitants, and slowly turns into robust sufficient to make the fabled hike.

One other Peak to Climb


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At first look, the absence of violence from A Brief Hike would possibly appear to be an odd factor to attract consideration to. In any case, there have been loads of notable video games up to now that include gameplay with out the presence of violence. Tetris, The Talos Precept, Gone House, all of those are video games that don’t enable the participant to have interaction with the world utilizing violence of any type. Nevertheless, most of these video games even have a really strict ruleset concerning how gamers might work together with the world. Puzzle video games by definition are about fixing issues inside that recreation’s construction and ruleset. Gone House and different strolling simulators are most frequently primarily targeted on the narratives they’re making an attempt to inform, and thus don’t require extra complicated gameplay to have interaction the participant. However exterior of some particular genres, a stunning variety of video games may be boiled right down to having an adversary standing in your manner, and overcoming that adversary by drive. Even a rhythm recreation resembling Thumper nonetheless has you taking pictures a laser right into a boss’ face on the finish of each stage. And lots of video games that provide non-lethal choices like Metallic Gear Stable, Undertale, or Dishonored nonetheless have violence baked into their core mechanics.

A Brief Hike breaks the mould for non-violent video games by having an open-world exploration construction, relatively than the extra restrictive gameplay sorts of different sometimes non-violent video games. Claire can climb nearly any mountain or construction by merely strolling into it. Nevertheless, the peak she will be able to climb with out shedding her grip is dictated by a stamina meter (represented by Golden Feathers). As soon as ascending a peak, she will be able to glide by way of the air utilizing her wings to achieve extra distant locations. If this sounds acquainted it ought to, because it’s almost similar to the climbing mechanics in Breath of the Wild. In addition to their gameplay being comparable, each video games additionally begin by giving the participant a vaguely-defined goal after which letting them off the leash to roam the world as they need. “Climb Hawk Peak” is basically this recreation’s “Destroy Ganon.” The place they start to vary nonetheless is how they permit the participant to work together with their worlds. With none fight, A Brief Hike chooses to go all-in on exploration.

The first gameplay motivator is the gathering of Golden Feathers to construct up Claire’s stamina and climb increased and better mountains, ultimately conquering Hawk Peak. On paper, the sport might sound like nothing greater than a strolling simulator with additional steps, and never value noting for its non-violence any greater than different video games within the style. Nevertheless, by borrowing a few of the most intuitive climbing gameplay within the final decade, A Brief Hike manages to make exploration itself partaking sufficient to hold gamers by way of its entirety. Strategically planning out gliding paths, judging the space of a climb, and praying to have sufficient stamina to make it. Each cliffside is a peak ready to be conquered, and each bounce is a leap of religion. Merely controlling Claire is enjoyable and interesting with out the necessity to litter the world with enemies to leap on or combat. Breath of the Wild might supply a wider breadth of experiences for the participant, due in no small half to how distinguished fight is as part of its core gameplay loop. Nevertheless, by forgoing fight altogether, A Brief Hike permits gamers to focus purely on the exploration facet of its world. This straightforward change in focus permits A Brief Hike to ship a very completely different sort of expertise than many players could be used to. The one adversary on this recreation is nature itself, and the way far you’re prepared to check it to your personal curiosity.

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Breathe That Contemporary Mountain Air


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However exploration could be meaningless if there was nothing to find. Fortunately, A Brief Hike has no scarcity of surprises and challenges for gamers. Whereas gathering Golden Feathers is the first focus for gamers, the sport gives quite a lot of methods to go about it. A number of charming NPC’s litter the park, providing actions starting from scavenger hunts, fishing, races, and even a volleyball match. Most rewards from these actions do find yourself being Golden Feathers. Nevertheless, since Golden Feathers assist construct your stamina in service of your final purpose, it’s a neat manner of conserving gamers invested in exploring the park whereas ensuring they at all times really feel like they’re progressing.

Even nonetheless, gameplay mechanics on their very own are solely part of constructing participant funding. The environment of A Brief Hike is the ultimate ingredient to its success. Once you’re not actively trying to find the following peak to ascend, merely basking on this planet of A Brief Hike is an indescribably nice expertise. The crunch of grass beneath Claire’s ft, the chirps of birds hovering overhead, the light winds softly dancing among the many treetops. A Brief Hike places within the effort to create a world that’s, for lack of a greater phrase, cozy. Paired with a soundtrack using a mixture of sunshine acoustics and piano melodies, and you’ve got a recreation world that merely feels good to exist in. As many similarities one could possibly level to between this recreation and the common strolling simulator, having a better mechanical funding of their skill to work together with this world implies that the cheerful environment turns into all of the extra tangible to gamers. By having such partaking exploration and motion mechanics, the participant turns into an energetic a part of the world relatively than a spectator. It’s the distinction between seeing an elephant in captivity, and actively watching one march throughout the Serengeti. Chopping down as many obstacles for gamers between them and interacting with the world makes all of the distinction when creating engagement, particularly in a recreation with out fight of any type.

A Distinctive Case, or Untapped Potential?


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There are admittedly just a few points of A Brief Hike that help in its success as a non-violent title. Firstly, the title is greater than only a snappy moniker. The principle purpose of climbing Hawk Peak may be accomplished in a single to 2 hours. Finishing all of the achievements takes round 4 to 6 hours in whole, relying on how lengthy gamers take to bask within the surroundings. One may argue that the main cause the sport works on a non-violent foundation is its brevity. {That a} longer recreation wouldn’t be capable to preserve gamers’ consideration as properly with out some kind of fight or adversary-based gameplay. One may additionally argue that non-violent mechanics work properly for a recreation as lighthearted in tone as this one, however video games eager to sort out extra severe material could be hard-pressed to not have some kind of violence current because of this.

Relating to the primary level, the counterargument could be that if the gameplay is attention-grabbing sufficient and absolutely fleshed out, builders can get gamers on board with absolutely anything. Papers, Please proved that you would be able to make submitting paperwork entertaining given the correct context. As for the second, the concept that video games can’t sort out darker material with out placing a weapon within the participant’s hand or abusing violent imagery is indicative of an absence of creativeness greater than something.

However maybe any such gameplay philosophy is simply inherently extra area of interest than extra combat-focused video games. Properly, all it takes is a look at A Short Hike’s Overwhelmingly Positive rating on Steam to indicate that players are greater than receptive to any such gameplay expertise. It simply relies on how builders current their recreation’s mechanics and situation their gamers to have interaction with their video games primarily based on stated mechanics.

Over the Subsequent Horizon


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Regardless of how attention-grabbing it might be to take a position on the potential for extra non-violent mechanics in video games, the reality is that violence in video video games isn’t going wherever. And in all honesty, that’s factor. The perfect video games of the medium are about gamers overcoming challenges and conquering obstacles. For higher or worse, fight is among the easiest methods to ship that sort of expertise. Nevertheless, because the medium of gaming continues to develop and mature, each players and builders ought to preserve an open thoughts to those much less frequent sorts of experiences. A Brief Hike will not be distinctive in its lack of violence, however it’s a uncommon instance of such an idea exterior of the standard genres we’ve come to anticipate this from. If gaming is to develop and develop as a medium, there should be other ways of interacting with titles past preventing each foe that comes our manner.

Because the previous saying goes, if all you’ve is a hammer, all the pieces seems like a nail. If extra builders turn into courageous sufficient at hand players a distinct instrument than they’re used to, it could solely imply good issues for gaming as a complete.

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