Sometimes a person just has to question reality. That is the natural reaction to Goat Simulator by Coffee Stain Studios.
Following a long and successful effort to bring a new video game to market, the people at the design studio decided to take a creativity break by coming up with small game promos. The idea was to blow off some steam between serious projects, and one of the game promos was Goat Simulator.
It was presented as a variant on the “sandbox” style games of Tony Hawk and Grand Theft Auto, but without the incredible tricks or the criminal violence. It was just a goat, running around and wrecking things.
The promotional video, however, developed a life of its own. Gamers, failing to recognize it as a joke, inquired as to when the game would be released. The video was passed around and linked. Eventually the Coffee Stain staffers realized that the odd sense of humor displayed in the promo – including an intentionally bad physics engine and visual glitches – had handed them a potential gold mine.
The game was released. It was a hit among a segment of players – a segment just large enough to earn them significant money. Unfortunately for parents, the desire to appeal to teen gamers encouraged them to leave some risque and even offensive material in the game.
They also included “easter eggs”, secret items and locations which can be found when players perform special actions. Rather than incorporate one or two of them, though, the easter eggs are plentiful in the game. Make the goat into goat royalty, a devil or an angel. Beat up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Shrek faces. Build with Minecraft blocks. Get abducted by a UFO. It’s in there.
The most common complaint is that the game is more fun to watch than it is to play; as a result, videos of the game (and its sequels) are plentiful. But, ultimately, it’s still just a goat, running around, breaking stuff. And it’s a hit.
For an example of some of the videos of play, a listing of the easter eggs from Youtube:
Just because enhanced graphics and memory capacity have allowed video games to move behind the plotlessness of Pac-Man and Asteroids, it doesn’t mean that designers or players aren’t just as nutty as they were in the 1970s.
Question of the night: What’s your favorite simulation game, video or otherwise (including wargames)?