A list of my favorite videogames, pretty heavily biased towards narrative experiences, and documented here to pique the interest of those who haven't been exposed to these sorts of games.
80 Days is a branching sort of text adventure game (certainly inspired by / in the genre of “interactive fiction”) that puts you into a steampunk “around in the world in 80 days” and lets you go exploring - there are so many branching paths to get there, the writing is so good. “Winning” in 80 days is barely the point.
Very inspired by Candy Box - playable for free in a browser or there’s a great ios/android port. This game does so much with barely any graphics, does a bunch of amazing stylistic shifts, tells a good story. The opening moments are so evocative. It’s a combination of a cookie clicker and a text adventure game and … then it changes …
I’m just going to let Wired describe it “DISCO ELYSIUM, if you didn’t play it when it came out in 2019, is a narrative-focused gem that emphasizes a vast story, worldbuilding, and themes, which in my opinion overdelivers on its promise to leave you stunned, and perhaps changed, by the game’s conclusion. Exploring madness, heartbreak, postwar culture, racist pseudoscience, and cryptozoology in a game that’s equal parts existential philosophy and absurdist nonsense, Disco Elysium was like nothing we’ve seen before.”
Gone Home is a first person 3d exploration game. In it, you play a young woman, back from her European summer vacation during college. Her parents have moved while she was away to big creepy house that’s completely abandoned when she gets there. The game feints at horror, but there’s never horror, just the horror of all fucked up families.
Unique text/narrative/choice game, it plays like a point-and-click adventure but most of the gameplay is in conversations and deciphering an ancient language puzzle. Feels like you really are exploring a vast arab-influenced universe that’s experienced a major “dark ages” period that’s only just being understood.
If you know me, you know I love art that attempts to be erotic without being tawdry, while being meaningful and fun and playful. This is a very silly and really fun exercise in trying to make a japanese-style erotic visual novel / dating simulator for a queer american audience. Is it good? maybe. Is it messy? oh yes. Is it art? 100%
Part of a genre of semi real-time “texting” games where you are in an interface that looks like a single-player chat-app, talking to a far away character who needs your help. Occasionally the game forces you to take breaks while the character goes and does something. Not the most effective but an interesting experiment.
Very inspired by Zelda and other top-down dungeon adventure games. This game does so much with a beautifully limited color palette. There’s a game mechanic in it that causes rounds to last sixty seconds which weirdly works well to create tension and playability. This made me feel more than dozens of hours in Zelda Breath of the Wild (a game with a like 1000x budget to Minit)
An incredibly gorgeous game inspired by the works of MC Escher, you manipulate a world that follows the slightly incorrect perspective physics of Escher. The gameplay is a bit simple - there’s often only one obvious move and it’s the right one, but the graphics, sound, design and the light moody text of the game allows it to create a strong feeling of
What if a “platformer” (a 2d jumping game like Mario or Sonic) had quite low-fidelity graphics, a killer soundtrack of original ‘electronic ambient’ music with a childlike exploratory yet dark feel and a british narrator? It would be Thomas Was Alone.