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Worlds That Tell Stories
 

Often we think about video game narrative as what characters and narrators tell us. But the worlds in which we play these games are often as dense and rich with story as any other aspect of the experience.

Some games, like Alba, A Wildlife Adventure, weave a narrative through the state of the island and its animal inhabitants. Others, like Paradise Marsh and Proteus, invite us into a space that is both grounded and mystical with insects taking to the stars or our presence causing the cosmos to shift.

Games like Everybody's Gone to the Rapture or Firewatch create a world of relationships connected to a particular place and time that strongly evoke both memory and story. Or there are games that seem bereft of human presence, like Lushfoil Photography Sim, and tell a story about absence as much as presence.

Then there are games like Abzu, Journey and Vane that take you to places you can't normally go. Both the journey to get there and the sense of presence when you arrive tell a narrative that sticks in your brain as much as any story.

Some games let you (seem to) push through to parts of the world that are usually off-limits. Portal, for example, lets you go behind the scenes. Uncharted games let you squeeze between rocks that would usually mark a barrier. Balan Wonderworld lets you jump and trick your way into bits of the level that feel like you've tricked the game.

However they do it, game worlds tell stories, unlike other media. They look like our world but are built for us in a way that leads, invites and nudges us through unexpected narratives.
 
This list includes 165 games from the last 38 years, with 2,504 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to find stories in game worlds.

The Last of Us Part II is an action-adventure game set five years after The Last of Us.

The Last of Us Part II is an action-adventure game set five years after The Last of Us. You control two characters in a post-apocalyptic United States.

Metroid Dread, the latest Metroid game, is a running, jumping, exploring and fighting game where you progress through levels, fight challenging bosses and uncover secrets.

Metroid Dread, the latest Metroid game, is a running, jumping, exploring and fighting game where you progress through levels, fight challenging bosses and uncover secrets. It returns the franchise to the 2D side-scrolling style of platforming, and features challenging puzzles that require both skill and perseverance to beat.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is the action-adventure sequel to Marvel's Spider-Man and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales where you shoot webs to swing around New York and defeat supervillains.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is the action-adventure sequel to Marvel's Spider-Man and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales where you shoot webs to swing around New York and defeat supervillains. Along with the usual fast-paced, fluid action and web-slinging traversal, this game adds a flight suit for rapid movement through the skyline, an expanded map, and broadened combat abilities.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is an adventure narrative game similar to Heavenly Sword and offers a heady mix of heroic storytelling and narrative.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is an adventure narrative game similar to Heavenly Sword and offers a heady mix of heroic storytelling and narrative. You control a character called Monkey (played by Andy Serkis) in a third-person perspective and use power-staff combat moves, running and jumping to overcome obstacles.

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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