Game of the Year 2017: Neranjan’s Picks

Credit: Kaigan Games OÜ
Credit: Kaigan Games OÜ /
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Credit: Kaigan Games
Credit: Kaigan Games /

Neranjan’s Game of the Year #4: SIMULACRA

A narrative horror experience with a simulated phone interface? When I found out about SIMULACRA I was filled with questions. When I played SIMULACRA I realized that I had to question what exactly can be called a Virtual Reality game. The game plays out as you are in the possession of the lost phone of a woman seemingly in trouble. The narrative is told through messages, emails, gallery and realistic recreations of popular apps.

SIMULACRA recreates many subtleties of a real phone all the way down to 5-second videos that you forgot that you recorded. Those subtleties make the game frightening and create a realistic “What if?” scenario. I often played the game while on public transit and looked around at everyone on their phones wondering if anyone else was playing SIMULACRA. The game taps into both our voyeuristic-obsessed and phone-obsessed lives and delivers a sense of realism. Tense moments of discovery are frequently encountered as you play.

I almost want to give SIMULACRA my VR game of the year as it did make me feel that I was using someone’s actual phone, creating virtual reality out of a game that doesn’t actually use a headset. When I virtually dialed 911 for the first time in SIMULACRA my first instinct was to hang up right away as if I had just mistakenly called in real life. In fact, the game gave me a good sense of presence, something that VR evangelists are always looking for. It may not truly be VR, but SIMULACRA is most certainly the best mobile game out today.