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People and Capitalism

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 in. 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 13 games from the last 26 years, with 97 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to question capitlaism.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 7 to PEGI 16
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE 10+ to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: PG to MA 15+
Genres: Adventure, Brain Game, Collecting, Communication, Creative, Narrative, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Role-Play, Sequencing, Simulation, Sports, Strategy and Traversal
Total Likes: 97
 

 

Citizen Sleeper

Release Date: 05/05/2022

Platforms: PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: Dice

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...

Road 96

Release Date: 16/08/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

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...

Cart Life

Release Date: 25/04/2019

Platforms: PC

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.

Change: A Homeless Survival Experience

Release Date: 01/05/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Change is a survival 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.

Norco

Release Date: 24/03/2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

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...

Golf Club: Wasteland

Release Date: 16/06/2021, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

Luck Be A Landlord

Release Date: 06/10/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

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...

Not Tonight (Series)

Release Date: 17/08/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

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...

Oddworld Soulstorm (Series)

Release Date: 19/09/1997, updated in 2022

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, PS5, PSP, Switch, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Oddworld: Soul Storm 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...

Flat Eye

Release Date: 14/11/2022

Platforms: PC

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...

I Was a Teenage Exocolonist

Release Date: 25/08/2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: Cards

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...

Hardspace: Shipbreaker

Release Date: 16/06/2020, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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...

The Last Worker

Release Date: 19/10/2022

Platforms: PC

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...

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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