Performing walking Sims: from Dear Esther to Inchcolm Project

Mona Bozdog*, Dayna Galloway

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
283 Downloads (Pure)


In 2012 The Chinese Room launched Dear Esther, a video game which would go on to shape video game history and define a new genre: the walking simulator. Walking simulators renounce traditional game tropes and foreground walking as an aesthetic and as a dramaturgical practice which engages the walker/player in critical acts of reading, challenging and/or performing a landscape.
In October 2016, Dear Esther was adapted as a site-responsive, promenade performance set on the Scottish island of Inchcolm in the Firth of Forth. The resulting performance, Dear Rachel, was then experienced alongside the game under the umbrella name Inchcolm Project. This hybrid event - multi-media (promenade performance, gameplay, musical performance) and mixed-reality (with physical, augmented and virtual components) - required the development and implementation of complex processes of remediation and adaptation. Drawing from theoretical landscape and practitioner reflection, this paper puts forward a design framework – storywalking - which reconciled the two adaptation challenges: responding to the site, and to the game.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-47
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds
Issue number1
Early online date1 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Walking
  • Performance
  • Walking simulators
  • Promenade performance
  • Adaptation
  • Site-specific
  • Re-mediation
  • Game design


Dive into the research topics of 'Performing walking Sims: from Dear Esther to Inchcolm Project'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this