Hand Simulator
May 17, 2021

A few weeks ago, I was persuaded to play Hand Simulator.

My first glimpse of Hand Simulator was on YouTube. I watch Hanae Natsuki twist his on-screen hands in unimaginable ways, desperately trying to wrap his fingers around a sword to stab his friend with.

Searching the Steam store, and there is not one, not two, but three different Hand Simulator games. We've agreed to play Hand Simulator: Survival Edition. Each of the games costs ninety-nine cents each, so I could have bought all three Hand Simulator games for less than the price of a cup of coffee.

Hand Simulator: Survival Edition requires two gigabytes of disk space, which comes out to about 50 cents per gigabyte. This is excellent value compared to other popular games. On a cents-per-gigabyte basis, Beat Saber costs almost 300 times as much.

The first thing you notice when you start playing are your unwieldy in-game hands. I recall the Youtube videos with the hand contortions, anticipating that my experience would consist of me wrestling with the controls. And while that sums up what happened, the dominant emotion was not frustration but amusement. Hmm. This is how you switch hands you control. Oh. This is how you move your fingers. Aha! This is how you pick something up. It is deeply satisfying to figure out how to pick up two rocks at a time.

The second thing you notice is what they're connected to. In every hand simulator game, you play a muscular bald man. An almost-naked muscular bald man.

Rather than having bought a game, did I instead buy a ticket to an interactive art installation? The object label next to it would read: the artists invite the viewer to reflect on the hidden complexities that underly the many things we do each day.

Was the ninety-nine cents money well spent? Was the hour playing time well spent? At least, if someone asks me what I thought about the last game I played, I can honestly say that it was a handful.