This game from Jason Rohrer is really quite simple: in essence, it's about the sacrifices one takes for love/marriage. There are technically two paths one can take in this game, one where they connect with the female avatar in the game, and one where they don't. It's pretty obvious from there, you walk a path, which is symbolizing life, and you collect points along the way. If you decide to get the woman, you can't navigate the path as easily, especially when it comes to collecting points. All this is fairly obvious, it's just playing the game that you get the frustration that comes from it, really.
Every Day The Same Dream
According to the designer, the game is about, if I may mutilate him for a second because I don't care to look up exactly what he said, refusal of labor. In the game, "right" has a specific function. It takes the gaming and really (western) logical focus of right = forward. Moving "right" is a function of live, in a sense. Moving right, and only moving right, leads you to work, and a normal life. Once you move left, reject your normal defined functions, you find meaning in the world (You will see this expanded when I discuss The Path). And finally, as you move right, and move beyond your job, you get the essence of where this standard capitalist life LEADS you. If you constantly move forward, you reach destruction. The concept of "walking", plays into the formal message of the game. To denounce it as a copycat of other "walking games" undermines EVERYTHING the game is about.
The Path is interesting in the sense that it is a direct comment on this sort of discussion. The Path has a game in it... a defined goal, a specific "win-loss" scenario, and a method to reach that goal. The actual content from it comes from the way that play off of that. To reach that goal, you walk forward. That's it. You follow a path (wow the title of the game) to reach the house, and that's it. However, by rejecting the "game"... rejecting the goal, the direction, the forced path of the game, you can find an experience. You can find items that relate to the characters and you can build an atmosphere around it and possibly find meaning. It's almost a direct discussion on this entire "games as art" discussion. In fact, the Tale-of-Tales lead men have made a statement on "art games", claiming that to exist as a game, you can not be art. They bring it to a biological level, that games are designed for a biological purpose for competition and a goal-driven experience. To make a game that puts the experience on a direct contradiction of the game, highlights the idea of what art is in respect to a game, and from this contradiction, separates itself from "walking" for whatever perhaps Jim Sterling intends to paint.