Somehow I always get roped into playing horror games. Horror games, like movies, always become so mundane and boring that I usually just don’t even finish them. This is until I played this week’s game. Psychological horror games are something else entirely, they really fuck with your head (ha). I bought this game in early September and have not played it until now and I am kicking myself for it. This week I found out what friendship is really about, and the repercussions of being a bad friend. This week I played Buddy Simulator 1984.
Buddy Simulator 1984 (Buddy Sim) is a psychological horror game developed and published by Not a Sailor Studios. It was released in February 2021, is only on PC, and retails for only $10.
What if you could have a buddy, not just anybody, but a buddy that knows everything about you and loves to play games. That is where Buddy Simulator starts off, with the player booting up their PC and playing this Buddy Simulator. The AI is very friendly and wants nothing more than to be your friend and play a choice of any three games (Rock, Paper, Scissors, Hangman and Guess a Number). The AI asks you some personal questions and then decides that they can generate a new game for the player to play.
It turns out to be a text adventure game.
After the text adventure is complete, your AI buddy generates a home with a bed for you to sleep in. As the night passes, Buddy Simulator 1984 turns into an RPG centered around friendship. The Mayor of the town you are across the river from has been eaten by a monster and it is up to you to save the day. A story set in three acts as you befriend a small team and venture to the edges of the world, learn about the real meaning of friendship, and make countless friends along the way.
Friendship is not what you thought it was.
Your AI buddy strains themselves giving you games that they think that you would love. The game has lots of issues and your buddy exclaims on more than one occasion how it hurts them to conjure so many objects into a single space.
“Friends don’t hurt other friends”
It may seem incredibly fragmented but I really don’t want to spoil much of this game.
Mechanics are pretty standard, you really only move with the standard WASD and interact with people and objects.
The combat boils down to two moves and essentially quick time events to mitigate damage. Enemies line up and each team takes a turn dealing damage to each other. Attacks lean on pressing a random key on the keyboard quickly to deal more with the bad guys and vice versa to lessen the blow of enemy attacks. It is nothing super in-depth, and it doesn’t take long to end fights. It is amusing the lines of dialogue after defeating or “befriending” enemies.
The game doesn’t look bad. It is just black and white up to a certain point and even then it just has a splash of color to it.
The sound design is definitely reminiscent of older Nintendo RPGs. The battle music is a heavy and quick chiptune, and the town music is soft and reassuring.
I should have played Buddy Simulator 1984 sooner, I really ended up liking the game a lot. It set out to do a thing and it did it really well, and I like those kinds of games. It more aligns itself with Psychological horror and not your traditional horror. Buddy Simulator 1984 isn’t out to scare you, per say, but all throughout the game you learn the stress that comes from interpersonal relationships and with that, manipulation. The moral ambiguity is so intense that I still do not know if certain aspects of the game were actually my fault.
The game ended and I ended up feeling sad because the game got to me.
The game only lasted around five hours and I did not replay it. I was left with a feeling of completeness and I didn’t feel like playing again to “do all the right things” or “be a better person”. The choices I made during my run were the choices I made, that’s it. I couldn’t recommend Buddy Simulator 1984 anymore. It is cheap and it sets out to do a thing and it does it really well.