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Garbage Collection

by Matt Weiner profile


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About the Story

From imaginary games jam. Based on the review:

Garbage Explorer

It sounds like a joke. In fact, it started out as one — specifically, as an image macro on various game dev boards, expressing disdain for the popular “explorer” genre by showing where it would wind up as people run out of new things to make explorers about. There’s also an implicit element of critique of explorer fans there, effectively saying “You didn’t really care about steam engines when you bought Steam Engine Explorer, did you? You just wanted another explorer game. So it doesn’t matter what the subject matter is. And that means you’d even play an explorer of a mouldering garbage heap.”

But the thing is, the anonymous author of Garbage Explorer decided to take the idea seriously, and the result is possibly the purest expression of the explorer genre there is. Like all genres, it’s loosely defined, but if there’s one thing that separates explorers from mere sims is the degree of implementation of unnecessary detail. An airplane sim will give you the experience of flying an airplane, but an airplane explorer will let you take it apart. A sim will simulate damage states to individual subsystems to the extent that they affect how the thing functions; an explorer will implement individual stripped screws for no other reason than that this is what the fans want. Well, with a garbage heap, there’s no functionality to get in the way of the explorer experience. There’s nothing but hundreds of individual pieces of garbage and insanely detailed damage states. Everything has individual smells and stains, which can be altered via contact with other pieces of garbage. Everything squishes convincingly under pressure, both alone and in piles. It’s a quite impressive feat of engineering for a solo work.

It’s also quite gross. Mostly it takes a childish, great-green-gobs-of-greasy-grimy-gopher-guts delight in its grossness, but every once in a while I got a description that made me regret the action that provoked it. In a perverse way, this adds to its fascination. When trying something new and unlikely, I don’t just think “I wonder whether this is implemented?”, but also “I wonder how far it will go this time?”

Game Details


Entrant - imaginary games jam


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This is version 6 of this page, edited by Zape on 11 April 2021 at 12:42pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page