Walden – The Video Game!

Well here’s something you don’t see every day!

A video game inspired by Henry David Thoreau! Who’s probably rolling in his grave right now at the thought of this being out in the world! Haha…

But on the plus side – we all get to live like him now as if we were the main character in Walden! A must have classic on all FIRE enthusiasts’ bookshelves! ;) If you don’t have it already, stop reading this and go out and pick up a copy!

“Walden” by Henry David Thoreau

walden book(Amazon affiliate link…)

Created by a team from USC’s Game Innovation Lab, it really is a “different” take on video games and has picked up a number of awards since it was rolled out in 2018.

Here’s more from their website (WaldenGame.com):

Walden, a game is an exploratory narrative and open world simulation of the life of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond. The game begins in the summer of 1845 when Thoreau moved to the Pond and built his cabin there.

Players follow in his footsteps, surviving in the woods by finding food and fuel and maintaining their shelter and clothing. At the same time, players are surrounded by the beauty of the woods and the Pond, which hold a promise of a sublime life beyond these basic needs. The game follows the loose narrative of Thoreau’s first year in the woods, with each season holding its own challenges for survival and possibilities for inspiration.

The audience for the game is broad: from experimental game players to lovers of Thoreau and Transcendental literature. As such, the game offers more opportunities for reflective play than strategic challenge.

And here’s the trailer for it, along with screen shots once you’re inside the game:

[Trailer: Walden, a game]

walden game map

walden game - inside cabin

walden game - lake

walden game - forest

walden game - store

walden game - house

Pretty neat, right? It might actually make me PLAY A VIDEO GAME for once, since Lord knows I’ve been out of the loop on them for quite a while, haha…

It’s currently available on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and then coming soon on XBOX. And if you’re an educator/home schooler – including even us temporary ones! – you can actually download it for FREE!

We have always made Walden, a game free to educators, including home schoolers and we want to be sure that parents who are now home schooling due to the Coronavirus are aware that they can request a free license. Just write to us here and we’ll send you a link to download and curriculum that may help you introduce your kids to Thoreau and Walden Pond.

Really cool stuff…

Here’s an article you’ll want to check out too that someone from Twitter passed me which alerted me to this game: Reading The Game: Walden via NPR. (Thanks @pschmalz90!)

And then here’s a blog that specifically channels Walden into his daily life and finances too – perfect for those who couldn’t care less about this game! ;)


“This blog is for young men and women who are willing to live on their own terms. Stepping outside of our cultural norm. A life where we do what we love, and not what society expect from us. We can do this by embracing simplicity and minimalism. And by doing so we can become financial independent, and do exactly what we want to do. No more, no less.”

Never know what you’re going to learn on any given day! Haha…

But as HDT once said himself,

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours

It really is all about striving to become better versions of ourselves.

So don’t ever stop learning!

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  1. Nienajadly April 23, 2020 at 10:08 AM

    First of all, I’d have put the bed closer to the fire during winter LOL. It would be an interesting game, I’d think. With the shut downs, it’s gotten me to want to be more self-sufficient in some ways (in others, I’m still being lazy). Supply chain is making me more aware of what I use, need, want, can do without. Enjoying reading and watching info on WWII rationing!

    1. J. Money April 23, 2020 at 2:00 PM


      And amazingly a lot of us are figuring out we really don’t *need* much to still have the same quality of life! :)

  2. J.D. Roth April 23, 2020 at 10:47 AM

    If this game is accurate, it will involve borrowing a lot of tools and furniture from family and friends so that you can maintain your “simple life” in the woods. I love Walden and the idea of it, but Thoreau was a slacker, man. He was a mooch.

    1. J. Money April 23, 2020 at 10:49 AM

      Haha… stop.

    2. Jessie April 23, 2020 at 11:48 AM

      Yess came here to say this. “Sister comes over to clean your house and do your laundry and bring you sandwiches” better feature prominently!