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Stories Told with Possessions

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.

Games often use their character's possessions to tell us about them, as much as what they say or look like. Favourite toys, carefully written letters, hurried notes, pictures on the walls, dilapidated architecture, menus, vehicles, ticket stubs. The objects of our lives tell a story about who we are and what is happening to us.

Games like The Sims or Animal Crossing enable us to use possessions to create spaces that reflect the character we are playing. In , we are given a prized camera and bird book from our grandparents to tell the story of their bond and trust.

Some games let us get to know characters solely through their possessions. In Unpacking we spend hours placing and arranging someone's things, and as we do we get to know them (and their hopes, loves, losses and travels) deeply. In The Last of Us we find people's notes and possessions abandoned. In this we find the story of a world in panic, but also of the people's lives before everything went wrong.

Other games use possessions as an important part of how we interact with the world. In Overboard, for example, we need to use medication, ear rings and clothing to tell a story that the other characters in the world believe (one where we didn't murder our husband).

Finally, games use possessions sentimentally to connect us to the past of characters. In Hindsight we are asked to decide which objects to keep and which to let go of. In Before I Forget, possessions offer a gateway to our own fraying memories.

However games use these possessions to tell stories, it's always worth slowing down, noticing the objects we are rushing past and reading the literal and metaphorical notes about the world in which we are playing.

This list includes 59 games from the last 22 years, with 1,333 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to discover the importance of possessions.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 18
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to R 18+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Brain Game, Collecting, Communication, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Rhythm, Role-Play, Sequencing, Shooting, Simulation, Stealth, Strategy and Traversal
Total Likes: 1,333
 

 

Submerged Hidden Depths

Release Date: 04/12/2020, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Submerged: Hidden Depths is an adventure game where you boat, climb and explore the ruins of a sunken world. With light puzzle solving and no combat you discover a drowned city, crumbling skyscrapers and deserted villages. It's the sequel to the first...

Overboard

Release Date: 02/06/2021

Platforms: Android, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Overboard is a murder mystery narrative game played in reverse. You murder your husband at the start of the game and then try and get away with it. It's played on a ship where the characters are affected by your choices and change their actions...

Unpacking

Release Date: 02/11/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Unpacking is a meditative puzzle game where you unpack belongings into a series of either spaces, each representing a stage in life. You get to know the owner of the objects by their possessions and circumstances. To finish a level you need to work out...

The Last Of Us Part II

Release Date: 19/06/2020

Platforms: PS4

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

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. Ellie is out for revenge after suffering a tragedy, and Abby is a...

Before I Forget

Release Date: 01/07/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Before I Forget is an exploration adventure, where you play Sunita, a woman alone in a house with early-onset dementia. As you wander from room to room, you discover mysterious objects, each holding a fleeting, fragmented memory. Examine faded...

Before Your Eyes

Release Date: 08/04/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Before Your Eyes is a narrative game about an 11-year-old boy revisiting his life before "crossing over" to the other side. You play by exploring scenes that represent snapshots of his life. Unusually, you make choices and interact with the game by...

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Release Date: 11/12/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is an adventure game where you play as a young girl who starts a wildlife conservation club. When Alba visits her grandparents on a Mediterranean island, she is excited for a summer of exploring with her friend Ines. But when...

Assemble With Care

Release Date: 19/11/2019

Platforms: PC and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

From the makers of Monument Valley, this puzzle game is a unique way to consider how physical objects become meaningful and hold our memories. You play a restorer who repairs people's favourite possessions: from family heirlooms to broken statues to...

Firewatch

Release Date: 20/09/2016

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

A Little To The Left

Release Date: 01/08/2022

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

A Little To The Left is a puzzle game where you are tidying a house into meticulous order. Each puzzle presents everyday objects and some evidence of how they should be organised. The challenge is you have to deal with the mischievous cat who likes to...

I Am Dead

Release Date: 07/10/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

I Am Dead is a puzzle game from the creators of Wilmot's Warehouse. You play a recently-deceased museum curator trying to avert a disaster from his home town of Shelmerston.

The Last Of Us

Release Date: 14/06/2013

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

You play a father, Joel, whose daughter was killed during the early stages of a deadly fungal outbreak. It’s now 20 years later, and he has clearly suffered from the loss. When Joel is given charge of a girl, Ellie, about the same age his daughter...

Empty

Release Date: 25/09/2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Web and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Empty is a minimalist puzzle game that teaches the value of simplicity in life. You rotate and interact with different vignettes to line up items with the same background colour. As you do this they disappear and the scene slowly empties.

What Remains of Edith Finch

Release Date: 18/04/2017, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Edith Finch is the surviving member of the Finch family, who seem to have died from a curse. In first-person perspective, you return to the family’s coastal home to learn about each relative’s final hours by exploring their rooms in turn.

The Sims 4 (Series)

Release Date: 04/02/2000

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

The Sims puts you in charge of a world of characters living normal lives. By providing a home, a job, leisure, friendships and even love interest, you work to make them happy. It’s an open-ended game as well, although the altruism is focused on...

Papers, Please

Release Date: 08/08/2013, updated in 2017

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita and iOS

You play the role of a border-crossing immigration officer in the fictional dystopian Eastern Bloc-like country of Arstotzka. You review each immigrant’s and returning citizens’ passports and paperwork according to an increasing list of changing...

Arctico

Release Date: 15/02/2022

Platforms: Mac and PC

Arctico is a meditative, exploration and base-building game where you play a lone scientist on a quest to continue your mentor's legacy and grow food in the arctic. You explore the vast frigid wilds of the island of Arctico with your sledge dogs, create...

Dépanneur Nocturne

Release Date: 26/05/2020

Platforms: PC

Dépanneur Nocturne (which means Nighttime Convenience Store) is a short narrative adventure about the value of conversation and local shops. You explore a store late at night, to find a gift for your partner. What unfolds is a gentle search-and-suggest...

Orchids to Dusk

Release Date: 03/12/2015

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Orchids to Dusk is a short wandering adventure. You are an astronaut stranded on an alien planet, with only a few minutes of oxygen. You explore the world and discover fantastic gardens on the planet.

Strange Horticulture

Release Date: 21/01/2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Strange Horticulture is an occult puzzle detective game where you run a plant shop. While you identify and sell new plants to your customers you discover and influence their interweaving lives. It's unusual because your power is in your knowledge of...

Hindsight

Release Date: 04/08/2022

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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...

Rusty Lake: Roots

Release Date: 20/10/2016

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Rusty Lake: Roots is an unusual point-and-click puzzle-horror game that has you piecing together your family tree. With a wide range unusual puzzles and game mechanics, like growing a literal family tree, it tells a story of a broken family and dark...

Exhausted Man

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Exhausted Man is a puzzle game where you play an ordinary, but clinically exhausted, person who must complete everyday challenges, and earn a better life. The twist is that you have to do all this with your character lying down.

Cube Escape Collection

Release Date: 27/04/2015, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

The Cube Escape Collection is a set of 9 point-and-click escape room style games set within the Rusty Lake universe. As you follow a murder case through the games, you uncover secrets and hidden meaning in unusual places that enable you to piece...

Samsara Room

Release Date: 06/09/2013, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Samsara Room is an abstract point-and-click puzzle-horror game. By solving the puzzles hidden throughout the room, you uncover an uneasy story about judgement and atonement told through the things you find.

The Past Within

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

The Past Within is a co-operative puzzle game where you solve a mystery by communicating with the past. You play the game with another person, either in the same room or elsewhere, by communicating what your different times and perspectives reveal.

Desta: The Memories Between

Release Date: 27/09/2022

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Desta: The Memories Between is a narrative puzzle game about returning home after leaving under difficult circumstances. You guide Desta through metaphorical puzzles that let you revisit painful moments of life and find the words you didn't have at the...

Leaving Lyndow

Release Date: 08/02/2017

Platforms: Mac, PC and PS4

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Leaving Lyndow is a narrative adventure set a couple of generations before Eastshade. Sharing the same anthropomorphized animal society, although here at an earlier stage, it's a game about the memories we make in the places we...

Six Cats Under

Release Date: 10/07/2020

Platforms: PC and Web

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Six Cats Under is a cute point-and-click puzzle where you are a deceased cat-lady trying to rescue your herd of cats by directing them with your poltergeist powers. The challenge is that you can only move very small things, so have to get the cats...

Stories of Blossom

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Stories of Blossom is a narrative point-and-click game where you play Clara as her grandfather tells her stories. In each story you take on a different character and go on adventures as you solve puzzles.

Unworded

Release Date: 17/11/2000, updated in 2017

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Unworded is a narrative visual puzzle where you use letter shapes to create objects and solve puzzles. As you progress through the five chapters, you uncover the story of a writer who is in the hospital recovering from a serious accident.

Please Knock On My Door

Release Date: 07/09/2017

Platforms: PC

Please Knock on My Door is a narrative puzzle about someone suffering from depression and social anxiety. By making choices you help them get through work and reach out to friends. But more than the mechanics of self-care, the game engages with the...

The Magister

Release Date: 16/06/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

The Magister is a roleplaying adventure where you play a detective sent to investigate the murder of a fellow Magister. You explore the point-and-click adventure to find clues, follow leads and befriend villagers. But then there's a card game to uncover...

The War to End All Wars (Dreams)

Release Date: 14/02/2021

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

The War to End All Wars is a point-and-click game set in a World War One battlefield visitor centre. However, as you interact with the exhibits you get taken back in time to live the experience through the eyes of a soldier. Unusually, it uses...

A Case of Distrust

Release Date: 08/02/2018

Platforms: PC, Switch and iOS

A Case of Distrust is a narrative game set in the roaring 20's where you play a hardboiled detective, Phyllis Cadence Malone, investigating a mystery full of deception and doubt. You help her struggle to overcome insecurities amidst pushback against...

A Plague Tale: Requiem

Release Date: 18/10/2022

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

A Plague Tale: Requiem is an action adventure where you play a pair of siblings Hugo and Amicia. The story continues from the first game's discovery of the plague of rats and Hugo's latent abilities. Standing out again for weaving the sibling...

Melatonin

Release Date: 16/09/2022

Platforms: PC and Switch

Melatonin is a rhythm game where you press buttons in time with surreal pastel scenes. You play by deciphering the animations and sound cues to know when to press buttons. It stands out as a rhythm game that manages to keep you in time without any...

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...

Pekoe

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Pekoe is a simulation game about making tea for fussy cats. You play by blending tea and making friends with the felines. Unlike other brewing games, here you literally pour and stir with your mouse. Getting the perfect brew is important, but more...

Project Zomboid

Release Date: 08/11/2013

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Project Zomboid is a zombie-infested open-world strategy game. It's a survival game that's designed to be really hard. In fact, the game's tagline is "no help is coming, how will you die?" You of course do your best not to die by looting houses,...

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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