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Digital Stories Lists

These relate to games that tell stories in different ways. Like novels, picture books, movies and theatre, video games can create narratives. However, they do this in new and unexpected ways. They uncover some different styles of storytelling in video games.

How hard a game is considered to be depends on who is playing it. A three-year-old tackling Zelda will struggle. But equally, a new-to-games-parents will find Mutant Mudds quickly gets beyond them. The games in this list are known for being difficult. They wear the difficulty as a badge of honour. "None shall pass," except with the will, time and belligerence to get good enough at this particular activity to beat the high bar the game sets.

05/04/2020 / 3 years ago

Time in video games is a valuable thing. Unlike in the real world where it proceeds in a linear fashion, in a game it may speed up, slow down or even go backwards. There are some games where controlling time becomes a crucial and fascinating game mechanic. The best of these integrate your time travelling powers with both characters and narrative to create a compelling experience.

13/04/2020 / 3 years ago

They might say that "the first cut is the deepest", but when it comes to video games there are many experiences where the second time through is the one that you really love. From games that intentionally offer a "New Game +" where you go again with more equipment and upgrades, to games that are more fun once you know what's really going on, this is a list of games that people love to play a second time.

17/11/2022 / 15 months ago

Many games present a substantial challenge. This is often about quick reflexes or your ability to deal with multiple systems at the same time. There is a specific set of games that focus on the challenge of a layered, complex conundrum you need to decipher to succeed.

22/06/2023 / 8 months ago

All games offer you agency. You can win or lose. You can complete them or stop at any time. But there are some games that offer a story that genuinely branches. Where you end up will be different from other players. This not only makes your actions really matter but also gives you a reason to play them again.

03/04/2020 / 3 years ago

Video games are largely about what's on the screen, the clue's in the name, right? But there are some games that get the player to close their eyes and engage with other senses. There's something magical about relinquishing the visual world for a while and embracing the idea of engaging with a virtual world with just sound (and maybe some controller haptics).

07/02/2023 / 12 months ago

We often talk about video games not only being entertainment because they are a new way to tell stories. However, some games use narrative as the way you interact with the game. Whether you are exploring a living breathing world, making choices that impact the story or even just deciding how things are said, narrative is the thing you are working with.

11/10/2022 / 16 months ago

Dungeons and Dragons casts its creative, communicative shadow over adventure video games, much like chess does over puzzle games. Some games try to recreate that D&D feeling with fantasy adventures and grand epic tales drawing on Tolkien-style characters. Others put you in charge of creating the sort of stories that arise during D&D role-play sessions.

03/02/2022 / 2 years ago

Most games you can jump in when you want and it doesn't matter. But there are a few where playing a series out of order makes for a more confusing or less satisfying experience.

00/00/0000 / today

Games create virtual worlds where you can experience life from other perspectives. This can be entertaining and light-hearted, but also presents ethical scenarios that require you to think carefully about consequences.

04/03/2020 / 3 years ago

Video games create a fantasy space in which we play. These are often enjoyable because they are an escape from everyday life. Some, however, want to become a part of our day. One way they do this is to make things happen in the game in accordance with the time (and sometimes date) in the real world.

04/10/2021 / 2 years ago

As with any commercial media, it's common to make use of an existing franchise for characters, worlds and stories. Video games based on franchises are often popular because of the association. The best examples of these are also popular because they are also good games in their own right.

14/12/2022 / 14 months ago

Some games are designed to be finished in one go. Others require multiple sittings. But there are some that want to be played over and over again, Groundhog Day-style. These looping experiences are designed to slowly make sense as you repeat the same short period of time.

16/06/2022 / 20 months ago

Music has been an important part of video games since specialised sound chips made composing and playing back music possible during the advent of 8-bit home computers in the 80s. This gave many games a unique sound, but it was how the music interacted with gameplay that was really interesting.

01/09/2021 / 2 years ago

Like a good crime drama or whodunnit novel, solving mysteries and puzzles is a good way to engage in a story. However, rather than just watching these mysteries while someone else does the heavy lifting, these video games place you firmly in the role of the detective. Gathering statements, sifting evidence and making intelligent leaps of deduction requires care and attention. These investigations makes these games slower than others, but it’s worth the effort each time you find the correct conclusion and move the story on.

06/03/2020 / 3 years ago

Games tell stories about people and places. This can be similar to books and films, offering snapshots, flashbacks and poignant scenes that form a life. Because we can explore the spaces where games happen, they can also tell stories by the things we find.

10/11/2021 / 2 years ago

Most often in games, we are battling to survive no matter the cost to others. Games are usually a story about the wielding of power to achieve worthy ends. However, there are some games that embrace the limits of this use of power.

13/09/2023 / 5 months ago

While some video games revel in the density and effort required to discover the narrative in their virtual worlds, others want to make it as easy and accessible to make their story your own.

03/08/2021 / 2 years ago

One of the most overlooked aspects of modern game controllers is the speaker. Although many games do little with it, there are a handful that extend the play experience substantially with the experience of sounds happening in your hands as well as on the TV.

03/10/2022 / 17 months ago

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.

01/11/2022 / 16 months ago

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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