The most popular video games with messages we can learn from
Video games as a medium are often overlooked for complicated storytelling. But it’s become clear in recent years that games are able to tell beautiful stories through an interactive medium. Some even use the medium to their advantage to enhance the story.
As the indie gaming industry continues to grow, more and more emotionally intelligent games come to light to tell important stories. Trying to compete with indie breakouts, the triple A developers are telling more powerful stories for a mainstream audience.
If you’re looking for a game that tries to pass on an important message through its gameplay, try out one of these games. These games offer great gameplay as well, while trying to do something more with the medium.
That Dragon, Cancer
Would you like to hysterically cry for two hours? Then play indie developer Joel Green’s game about his son’s four year battle with cancer. Teaming up with his wife and some of his friends, Green told the pain and struggle of his son being diagnosed with a brain tumor before the age of one, and the four years of turmoil that followed.
Through artistic storytelling and strong metaphors for the emotional rollercoaster of a journey the Green family went on, That Dragon, Cancer is here to truly take you on the journey of seeing someone you love go through cancer. Especially when that someone you love is still learning basic motor skills.
The Last of Us
Considering its highly anticipated sequel just came out, people are revisiting the original and the reasons they fell in love with the intense story from the game. Following Joel as he helps Ellie to the gang of Fireflies to help find a cure for the zombie illness wrecking the world.
Just as much as the story is about Ellie and her special immunity, it’s about Joel moving on from the death of his daughter at the beginning of the game. Through his growing relationship to Ellie as well as the other people he meets along the way, Joel is able to finally move past his daughter’s death and focus on survival.
The supersized indie hit of the decade, Undertale is the first game that comes to people’s minds when they discuss games with a message. A heavy focus on finding a peaceful way to end conflict, no matter what it takes, Undertale left a heavy impression on fans, while also becoming a huge meme in the process.
But looking at the game itself, it does send an important message about how going around the world with a deadly attitude is detrimental to the world and can truly cause damage to the entire ecosystem as we know it. Plus, it’s a lot easier to just date everyone, even your enemies.
Life is Strange
Sure, it’s got more teen angst than a John Green protagonist, but it still would’ve been a better series than Looking for Alaska. Where the game lacks compelling gameplay, it succeeds in making the players choices matter greatly to the game itself. Even the more minor decisions leave an impact on Blackwell Academy in their own ways.
Even the major decision at the end leaves people split, it’s literally just the Trolley Problem with a twist: you know the one person you’re running over and care for them deeply. Every major choice you have to make, you could easily argue why for either side, making them even harder decisions to make in the first place.
Spec Ops: The Line
A shooting game set during war that actually discusses how awful war is? It’s a shame this game didn’t do better during its release because it actually takes its setting seriously instead of making it some generic third person shooter. As you lead Martin Walker around to take on the decaying Dubai, it’s clear there’s something wrong.
His hallucinations get worse as the game progresses, and the multiple endings at the end of the game prove how intense these decisions soldiers have to make are. Especially when they’re not completely together mentally, it can be traumatizing to be put in a life or death situation.