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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.

We've worked with The Narrative Outlook newsletter (subscribe here) to create a list of games that focus first on the narrative genre. Their monthly newsletter is a great way to stay up to date about all things narrative gaming.

We are including games that would elsewhere be called Walking Simulators, although for us these are narratives told through exploration. We also include games that other sites might lump in with Adventures, although for us these games are more about what is said and revealed on the way through the journey itself.

We aren't including games with strong narratives if the main way you interact with the game is through Puzzles, Role-Playing, Adventuring or the other common genres. For instance The Last of Us isn't here because it is primarily a Shooting Adventure game. Celeste isn't here because it's firstly a Platform game. My Child Lebensborn isn't here because the main interaction is Puzzle tamagotchi-like. I Was a Teenage Exocolonist, not because it isn't a strong narrative, but because there is a lot of collecting and deck building front and centre too.
 
This list includes 84 games from the last 26 years, with 1,386 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play with a story. We break them down into the following areas:

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Experience A Story

Florence

Florence is a puzzle game that tells the story of a relationship. It follows the usual stages of loneliness, meeting, dating, falling for and moving in with another person. At first, the puzzle interactions seem trivial and the game doesn’t change...

Old Man's Journey

Old Man's Journey is a game about memory and old age. You help a grandfather figure traverse the countryside by raising and lowering the landscape. Along the way, he visits places that evoke the story of his life: a wife, a child and a love of the sea.

Hindsight

Hindsight is a narrative point-and-click game where you revisit the past by finding objects that trigger memories. Play involves exploring each scene, locating objects and listening to the story as you move the camera to look within what you've found...

If Found

If Found is an interactive narrative game about searching for connection. You touch the screen to rub out and erase text and drawings. Set on December 31st 1993 in the crumbling ruins of a mansion on Achill Island, you play Kasio as she destroys her diary.

Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is an action-adventure game where you simultaneously control two brothers on a quest to save their ill father. In single-player you control each brother with one of the controller sticks, or in co-op with a friend you each...

To The Moon

To the Moon is a story-adventure following two doctors trying to fulfil a dying man's last wish to go to the moon. With only a few ways to interact with the game, you control the doctors, exploring and solving puzzles to reconstruct the dying man's...

That Dragon, Cancer

That Dragon, Cancer is a game about a family with a young son who has terminal brain cancer. It sounds off-putting and morbid but this living biography invites you to join the family and find hope, faith and love in the face of an insurmountable...

The Wreck

The Wreck is a narrative game where you play Junon, a mother at a crossroads. She's 36 but her career has stalled, she's emotionally numb, and her personal life is falling apart. It's not unfamiliar territory for a video game these days, but The Wreck...

Gerda: A Flame in Winter

Gerda: A Flame in Winter is a narrative adventure game set in the small Danish village. Gerda's quiet life is turned upside down during the World War 2 occupation of her home. You choose where to go, how to act, and who to trust. It stands out for the...

The Darkside Detective (Series)

The Darkside Detective is a point-and-click adventure with a British sensibility where you take on investigations as Detective Francis McQueen. Play is the usual combining of objects and moving from location to location, but unlike similar games the...

Under the Waves

Under the Waves is a narrative adventure where you survey the ocean depths to find leaking pipes and make repairs. As you do you also discover a story of a grieving man retreating into himself. It creates a universally familiar story by mirroring the...

No Longer Home

No Longer Home is a point-and-click narrative about moving on to a new stage of life, and our reluctance of relinquishing the familiar. You play by exploring each of the scenes, interacting with objects and making conversational choices. It stands out...

Revenant Hill

Revenant Hill is a narrative adventure set in 1919 where you play a cat called Twigs where animals and people lead lives next to each other. Play involves making connections and earning friendships from interactions, social deduction and some light...

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach: Ruin

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach: Ruin is a free expansion to Security Breach that acts as a standalone game where you play Cassie as she solves puzzles and attempts to find her missing...

Local News with Cliff Rockslide

Local News with Cliff Rockslide is an adventure where you play the camera operator of an independent reporting duo. You follow the reporter around the town to capture all manner of wacky situations and colourful characters. The challenge is to frame the...

Firebird

Firebird is a narrative game about taking on a dangerous road trip to make money in the hostile Great North. Play involves talking with characters, managing your resources, and making story-changing decisions. It's unique because it explores Slavic...

Lorelei And The Laser Eyes

Lorelei And The Laser Eyes is a narrative brain game where you are stuck in a mysterious maze unsure of whether to trust your senses or the people you meet. Play involves using the clues you find to solve puzzles and traverse the maze to safety. It...

Minecraft: Story Mode

Minecraft: Story Mode is a point-and-click narrative adventure set in the Minecraft universe where Jessie, an inexperienced adventurer, sets out on a grand quest with their friends. As you watch their story unfold, you make...

Neva

Neva is a narrative running and jumping game about a young woman's lifelong bond with a wolf. They must work together as they embark on an adventure through a rapidly dying world in the hope of finding a new home. Like the developer's previous game,...

Raptor Boyfriend: A High School Romance

Raptor Boyfriend: A High School Romance is a narrative game set in the final year of a high school for mythological creatures looking for love. You play Stella, who must find her place in the school as she talks to peers and decides who to date. It...

The Last Door

The Last Door is a point-and-click narrative game set in Victorian England where something ancient and evil is stirring. Inspired by the works of author H.P. Lovecraft, you search haunted buildings for supernatural phenomena using the items you find. It...

The Last Night

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...

Year Walk

Year Walk is a horror narrative traversal game where you partake in the ancient Nordic tradition of Year Walking to see glimpses of the future. As you travel the snowy landscapes by moonlight, you see creatures and characters from Swedish mythology and...

Once Again

Once Again is a narrative game where you uncover a story about endings and goodbyes through photography. While other visual novels offer a branching story, here the focus is on triggering events with novel interactions like developing photos and taking...

The Excavation of Hob's Barrow

The Excavation of Hob's Barrow is a point-and-click horror adventure where you unravel a dark mystery in the Yorkshire moors. You investigate locations for clues, talk to the strangely hostile locals, and solve puzzles to gain their favour. It stands...

There Was A Home

There Was A Home is a narrative adventure that follows Noor, a young Saudi woman who returns to clear out her family house. Play is a combination of clicking around to explore her home and using the physical journal to help solve puzzles to find items...

Influence Unfolding

Firewatch

Firewatch is an explorative adventure where you play a fire lookout in America’s Shoshone National Forest. It has a relational and conspiracy undertone similar to the podcast/radio drama and Netflix show [link to...

Penrose

Penrose is a text adventure, where you don't only read the story and choose its next step, but can go back into the text to change it in all sorts of mind-bending ways. As the developer describes it, "Penrose is a non-linear narrative adventure game...

Bury Me My Love

Bury Me My Love is a narrative adventure game where you play the husband of a Syrian woman, Nour, travelling to Europe. Play involves receiving and sending simple messages where Nout tells you how she is getting on and you influence her choices. It...

Oxenfree

Oxenfree is an adventure game where a teenagers’ beach party spirals into a supernatural story. You guide the outcome with your choices as the well-written dialogue reveals characters coming to terms with family breakdown, death of a sibling, blame...

Coffee Talk

Coffee Talk is an interactive story about a barista working in a coffee shop in Seattle. You listen to customers' concerns about life and love, in a retro-pixilated world backed with lo-fi chilled hip-hop music.

A Dark Room

A Dark Room is an adventure where you try and survive in the wild. The world is depicted with just text but leads you into a dense narrative with intriguing visitors and a steadily expanding world. It has a simple start – a single option to stoke a...

Bird Alone

Bird Alone is a narrative game where you befriend a bird. Your feathered companion encourages the conversation in the direction of real life worries while you make music, draw pictures and write poetry. It’s a slow game that unfolds in real time with...

Wayward Strand

Wayward Strand is a narrative game about Casey Beaumaris, an intrepid teenage journalist. You visit an airborne hospital, uncover the airship's mysteries, and explore the lives of its inhabitants. It's a Tintin-style point-and-click adventure with a...

Talk to Strangers

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...

Upheaval

Upheaval is a narrative game where you have 30 days in a village before a wizard arrives. In those days, you can stir up chaos, lay low, go adventuring or do countless other activities. With over 5000 possible endings, it stands out for the sheer...

Monorail Stories

Monorail Stories is a narrative adventure where two people's lives are entwined by the journeys they take on the same monorail. You make choices for each character that can impact not only people on your commute but those on the other journey. It's...

Baldur's Gate 3

Baldur's Gate 3 is a role-playing game that recreates the Dungeons & Dragons experience in a digital world. You explore the world and fight enemies by rolling dice and weighing up your stats to see what happens. But...

Beacon Pines

Beacon Pines is a storybook adventure game where you play as a small fawn named Luka trying to solve a mystery in a creepy town full of intrigue. You play by collecting words that change the story, so you can go back through the book to play out...

Saltsea Chronicles

Saltsea Chronicles is a point-and-click adventure where you sail the sea to rescue your ship's captain. You explore the flooded world discovering islands, meeting characters, and managing the relationships between your crew. Unlike other sailing games,...

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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