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The Beginner’s Guide Review

The Beginner's Guide Review

The Beginner’s Guide Review

A short “walking simulator” that attempts to psychoanalyze a game developer. Quite deep.


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Published by


Genre: Walking Simulator
Release date: October 1, 2015

“Trust the art, never the artist.” – D. H. Lawrence

Adventure games have been around longer than the personal computer. Over the years they’ve developed many different styles: text adventure, story-centric, puzzle palace, eye candy and so on.

The latest of these styles is the “walking simulator,” so-called because you do little more than walk around and experience whatever the developer has intended. You’re more spectator than participant and the experience tends to be poetic and introspective.

One of the first of the walking simulators (and perhaps the most interactive) was The Stanley Parable which I wrote a non-review for way back when. The effort burned out the developer, Davey Wreden, and he dropped out of the scene for awhile. But now Davey’s back with another walking simulator, The Beginner’s Guide.

The Beginner’s Guide has three characters: The Developer, The Friend and The Spectator.

The Developer likes to make simple games. They’re small, little more than conceptual studies, and not always playable. He writes them for his own personal satisfaction and none of them is ever published. We never meet The Developer.

The Friend is the one person with whom The Developer shares his work. The Friend doesn’t understand why The Developer won’t make his games more playable and release them to the public. Is something wrong with him? Does the nature of his games reveal anything about his mindset? Is there a way he can help The Developer?

You’re The Spectator. The Friend shares his thoughts with you and allows you to play The Developer’s games. You listen politely and cogitate whether a locked room does, indeed, represent an emotional prison, or if a cigar is just a cigar.

Ultimately, you must consider just how much of this applies to you.

“Stare too long into the abyss and the abyss will stare into you.” – Sigmund Freud

This game does something that has not been done before and was created by a single individual. That is very impressive. While this is a short game (it can be rushed through in 90 minutes), it is philosophically deep. It got me thinking and sometimes came uncomfortably close. But this is exactly what the author intended. I highly recommend it..

Grade: A
Can be played in short, self-contained chapters
Intellectually stimulating
Delivers exactly the experience it intended
The length of the game is just right 
+/- It could get personal
– Limited replayability

System Requirements
OS: Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10
Processor: 3.0 GHz P4, Dual Core 2.0 (or higher) or AMD64X2 (or higher)
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: Video card must be 128 MB or more and should be a DirectX 9-compatible with support for Pixel Shader 2.0b (ATI Radeon X800 or higher / NVIDIA GeForce 7600 or higher / Intel HD Graphics 2000 or higher – *NOT* an Intel Express graphics card).
Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible

OS: Mac OSX 10.8 or higher required
Processor: 3.0 GHz P4, Dual Core 2.0 (or higher) or AMD64X2 (or higher)
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: ATI Radeon 2400 or higher / NVIDIA 8600M or higher
Hard Drive: 4 GB available space

Bob Washburne

Bob Washburne

I have been playing adventure games since 1979 when I played "Adventure" on the DEC PDP minicomputer at work. The first adventure game I ever purchased was "Zork 1" for CP/M. I can remember the introduction of the IBM PC. I remember the invention of the microcomputer (actually, it was discovered rather than invented). I remember the invention of the minicomputer. Yes, I am an old fart. I have written 80 reviews and articles for JustAdventure starting with my review of "Bioscopia" in February of 2004. I currently own more adventure games than I will ever be able to play, let alone review. And I want more!

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