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Video games are essentially entertainment media that are usually designed to make money. Interestingly, they are also a powerful way to look at what agency we have (or don't have) in our lives dominated by a capitalistic imperative. Unlike books or films that critique the status quo of our world by giving a glimpse into aspects of our world that are hard to see, video games offer the chance to step into those situations and experience them first-hand. This is not only a powerful way to ask questions about the world but a way to do this in an embodied and felt experience.The games in this list hold up an aspect of capitalism or consumerism and ask whether things should be like this. They let you experience what it's like to be a person under different circumstances in a world where capitalism dominates. Sometimes this is tongue in cheek and simply part of the world in which you play. But other times it's the central premise of the game that intends to leave the player asking new questions about how we structure our lives, families, friendships and commerce. This list includes 38 games from the last 27 years, with 354 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to question capitlaism.
Release Date: 31/07/2023
Out Now: PC, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made
Venba is a narrative cooking game where you play an Indian mother who emigrated to Canada in the 1980s. You cook various traditional Indian dishes and restore lost recipes which were damaged in the move to Canada. As you cook, you talk to your family...
Release Date: 16/08/2021
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
Road 96 is a narrative adventure where you play a teenager trying to escape an oppressive, authoritarian country by reaching the border. Through a series of vignettes, you experience the most important and poignant parts on an epic road trip through a...
Release Date: 05/05/2022
Out Now: PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On, Cartoon, Dice, Grid and Text
Citizen Sleeper is a role-play game set in the ruins of interplanetary capitalism. You are an escaped worker exploring a lawless space station, making friends, and (ultimately) trying to escape your past. Each cycle you roll dice and decide how to spend...
Release Date: 03/10/2023
Out Now: PC
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks and Pixels
Station to Station is a railway-building puzzle game about connecting commerce and community to create a beautiful rail network. Play is about making connections between buildings to move materials and people around the world efficiently. It stands out...
Release Date: 24/05/2023
Out Now: PC and Switch
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cards and Cartoon
Sunshine Shuffle is a narrative game where you play poker with talking animals who each have a criminal past. It's based around the group's regular Texas Hold 'Em poker game. It stands out for the endearing Robin Hood story and the unusual blend of...
Release Date: 25/08/2022
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 2D Side-On, Cards and Cartoon
I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is a narrative game about growing through teenage years on an alien planet. It's played by making choices about who to help or which skills to master over the ten years. This determines the course of your life on the colony...
Release Date: 24/07/2023
Time Bandit is a puzzle adventure where you spend your real-world time to earn money. Play is a mix of exploring the world, moving boxes and making decisions about your resources - all of which come at the cost of your time. It combines classic...
Release Date: 25/05/2021, updated in 2021
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 2D Overhead
Imagine Earth is a simulation strategy where you manage space colonies for a huge corporation. You gather resources, manage your finances, shape the planets and expand your cities while fending off rival companies and alien invaders. It stands out for...
Release Date: 19/04/2019, updated in 2023
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Components: 2D Side-On, Day and Night and Pixels
Talk to Strangers is a narrative adventure where you play a struggling door-to-door salesperson selling mysterious wares to the neighbourhood. You talk to the residents in an effort to convince them to buy your goods while simultaneously using your...
Release Date: 25/04/2019
Components: 2D Side-On, Pixels and Text
Cart Life is a simulation game where you play one of three street vendors. You attempt to run their shop whilst looking after their health, interests, and families. It has simple visuals, but depicts the realities of the thin-end of life.
Release Date: 01/05/2020
Out Now: Mac and PC
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
Change: A Homeless Survival Experience is an adventure narrative game where you play a homeless person trying to make it against the odds. It's intentionally hard to do well as you explore an endless city that's different every time you play.
Release Date: 17/08/2018, updated in 2020
Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds
Not Tonight is a tongue-in-cheek role-play adventure where you challenge the political establishment in alternative versions of Post-Brexit Britain (in the first game) or capitalism-run-rampant America (in the sequel). You take on a time pressured...
Release Date: 19/09/1997, updated in 2022
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, PS5, PSP, Switch, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On
Oddworld Soulstorm is a running and jumping game where you guide members of your species through labyrinthine levels to free them from brutal oppression. It's a remake of 1998's Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus and a sequel to Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty. Its...
Release Date: 01/11/2023
Out Now: PC and PS5
Components: 3D Third-Person
This Bed We Made is a neo-noir adventure mystery game where you play a 1950s maid who stumbles into deadly secrets. You go about your duties cleaning rooms, but soon notice strange clues about heartbreak and murder.
Release Date: 10/03/2023
Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds
Big Ambitions is a role-playing game that simulates running a business. Like similar games, you make decisions about what, where and how to grow your business. Here though the scale is much bigger, so much so you can drive and walk around the city in...
Release Date: 24/03/2022
Norco is a gothic point-and-click narrative adventure set in the decaying suburbs and industrial swamps of an alternative South Louisiana. Your brother goes missing after your mother's death and you set out to find him by following a fugitive security...
Release Date: Coming soon
Coming Soon: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person and Dice
Dustborn is a road-trip adventure set in America 2030 where all information has been lost. You and your misfit friends must cross this divided world to deliver a package from California to Nova Scotia. It's unusual not only because of the setting but...
Release Date: 24/10/2023
Out Now: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid, Open World and Weather
Cities: Skylines II is a city-building simulation that extends the first game's revival of detailed and ambitious urban planning of the Sim City games. You zone buildings, place roads, set taxation and provide public services and...
Release Date: 16/06/2021, updated in 2021
Golf Club: Wasteland is a golf game in an unusual setting. You play on an earth decimated by an environmental catastrophe. Through beautiful visuals and eerie audio, you piece together what has happened to the planet to cause such devastation. It's an...
Release Date: 14/11/2022
Flat Eye is a narrative strategy game where you run a gas station in the near future. Play is a matter of making money from customers by adding products and streamlining efficiency. But what really stands out here is the web of corporate and management...
Release Date: 07/04/2023, updated in 2023
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead and Cards
Green New Deal Simulator is a strategy game where you must shift the US economy to net zero carbon. You place Effect cards on the map to choose how each area grows its green energy while also minimising unemployment. There are other educational games...
Release Date: 06/10/2020
Luck Be a Landlord is a simulation game where you collect symbols to build the ultimate slot machine, win lots of money, and defeat capitalism. You choose the tokens like deck building games, then have repeated attempts to win money like a rogue-like...
Coming Soon: PC
Citizen Sleeper 2: Starward Vector continues the role-play adventure with a new story about an escaped corporate-owned android with a price on its head. Each cycle you roll dice and decide how to spend them, on repairing your ship, on trading or on...
Release Date: 16/06/2020, updated in 2022
Components: 3D First-Person
Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a spaceship salvage simulation game where you disassembling out of use craft panel by panel. The challenge is that the ships are built to survive space and tough to take apart so you must use a wide array of tools to reduce...
Coming Soon: PC, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Still Wakes The Deep is a horror narrative game set on the Beira D oil rig in 1975. When disaster strikes off the coast of Scotland you must traverse the collapsing rig to save your crew from what becomes clear is not only a natural disaster.
Coming Soon: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Dead Pets Unleashed is a narrative rhythm game about a struggling punk band wrestling with life and the challenges of getting older. You play the songs in rhythm-action elements, while also getting to know the locals and managing the progress of your...
Release Date: 17/03/2021
Landlord of the Woods is a point-and-click adventure where you play a disaffected 25-year-old who starts working as a woods keeper. Play involves getting the woodland houses ready for each tenant who has specific requirements.
Coming Soon: Mac, PC and Xbox X|S
The Last Night is a narrative game set in a neon-bathed, hyper-advanced future where you are a second-class citizen wrestling with your place in the world. As you traverse the Blade-Runner-style city districts, you talk with characters, evade constant...
Release Date: 27/03/2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5 and Switch
The Last Worker is a narrative adventure set at the end of capitalism. In an increasingly automated world, you play Kurt, who works in a distribution high-rise and discovers a secret floor of battery-farmed animals and meaningless products. The game...
Release Date: 02/08/2023
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World
Thronefall is a miniature strategy game that focuses on tactics without the usual headaches of ever-expanding scale. You play in a fantasy world and build your defences during the day to be ready to defend yourself at night. It stands out not only for...
Release Date: 03/11/2023
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night and Open World
Back To The Dawn is a role-play game where you play a wrongly convicted reporter who must win favour and escape to clear his name. Play involves exploring the prison, forging alliances, completing mini-games for money and working towards a plan to get...
Release Date: 22/04/2015, updated in 2019
Out Now: Android and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead and Day and Night
Does Not Commute is a traversal challenge where you drive to work multiple times in a small 1970s town. It starts with empty roads, but each journey you make adds a vehicle on that route for your next trip. It stands out for creating a fascinating...
Release Date: 28/09/2023
Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels
Freak Crossing is a simulation adventure where an accident has made you the head of a lawless village. Play involves exploring and talking to the locals to sort out their anti-social (and sometimes illegal) behaviour by taking on mini-games. It turns...
Coming Soon: PC, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Resistor is a racing game where you use tricks and dirty tactics to win races, in an effort to take down the dystopian establishment. It draws its racing from Burnout, but between each event there threads a narrative about power and money. This...
Release Date: 15/10/2015, updated in 2017
Out Now: Android, PC, Switch, Wii U and iOS
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead and Cartoon
Human Resource Machine is a strategy game where you program little office workers to solve puzzles. Play involves giving each worker instructions so they complete the jobs you are assigned for the day. It stands out not only for sneakily teaching kids...
Release Date: 14/07/2023, updated in 2023
Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Weather
Jagged Alliance 3 is a strategy battle game where you lead a squad of mercenaries tasked with finding the President and bringing order back to the country. Play involves recruiting a team of heroes to take on tactical turn-based combat. It stands out...
Release Date: 05/02/2022, updated in 2023
Out Now: Android, PC, Xbox One and iOS
Pls Donate is a Roblox communication and trading game where you set up your own market stalls to sell and donate any of your items to donate Robux in return. You play by selecting your items to sell and then writing signs to attract people to come and...
Release Date: 23/08/2023
Components: 2D Side-On, Cards and Pixels
Rush For The Ages is a fast-paced strategy game where you play cards to build a civilisation faster than your opponents. Play involves choosing cards that build your civilisation and hamper your opponents. It stands out for the interlocking complexity...