If you look at the most played “games” on Steam, you’ll probably know most of the top 25. But just outside of that, with more “players” than Elder Scrolls Online, Arma 3, Skyrim and Fallout 4, is … a game about wallpapers.
To be clear, Wallpaper Engine isn’t a game. It’s a utility that lets you animate your desktop wallpaper, changing up the plain stillshots of Windows waves with 2D and 3D animations, rolling videos, sites that refresh in real time, and even apps. It works across multiple monitors and supports standard and ultrawide screen resolutions, and there’s a Steam Workshop where you for user-uploaded backgrounds.
Here’s an example of an animated background from Spirited Away:
But because most of Wallpaper Engine is backgrounds that people upload themselves, the Steam Workshop is weeb haven. There’s sorting categories for “mature” and “questionable”, which I refused to browse through on a 32-inch monitor at work. And to the surprise of no-one, users have complained about straight up porn — not halfway tentative anime porn, but actual legitimate porn — being uploaded to the Steam Workshop.
Generally though, Wallpaper Engine‘s functionality and its growing roster of stuff to add to your desktop is why it’s so beloved. The $5.99 program has a 97 percent user rating from just over 83,000 reviews, with users loving the customisation, the discovery process, and in particular the ability to bring their desktop to life with new memes and waifu bait.
Critical reviews complained about increased CPU and GPU usage in some instances, a lack of content at certain widescreen resolutions, as well as inconvenient crashes in various scenarios.
Here’s the wonderful tales that users have left about their time with Wallpaper Engine, a Steam program more popular than Fallout 4 and Skyrim.