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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 24 games from the last 22 years, with 762 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, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation, Stealth and Turn-Based
Total Likes: 762
 

 

Overboard

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Skill Rating: 13-15 year-olds

Release Date: 02/06/2021

Platforms: Android, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Point-and-Click

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Inkle Studios (@InkleStudios)

Players: This is a single player game

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

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9-14 year-olds

Release Date: 02/11/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 34 features

Developer: Witch Beam Games (@WitchBeamGames)

Players: This is a single player game

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

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Skill Rating: 16-18 year-olds

Release Date: 19/06/2020

Price: 40% off

Platforms: PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Role-Playing, Shooting and Stealth

Accessibility: 49 features

Developer: Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog)

Players: This is a single player game

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 Your Eyes

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 08/04/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: Goodbye World (@Goodbye__World_)

Players: This is a single player game

Before Your Eyes is a narrative game you play with a webcam. It detects each time you blink and advances the story. In this way you work through different scenes from your life, looking around with the mouse and choosing interactions by blinking. It...

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5-10 year-olds

Release Date: 11/12/2020

Price: 35% off

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Simulation

Accessibility: 30 features

Developer: Us Two (@UsTwo)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Firewatch

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

Release Date: 20/09/2016

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Camposanto (@Camposanto)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Assemble With Care

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-9 year-olds

Release Date: 19/11/2019

Platforms: PC and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Us Two Games (@UsTwoGames)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

A Little To The Left

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5-12 year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Max Inferno Games (@MaxInfernoGames)

Players: This is a single player game

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

Content Rating: PEGI 7

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

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

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: A i (@A_i)

Players: This is a single player game

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

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Skill Rating: 16-18 year-olds

Release Date: 14/06/2013

Price: 50% off

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Shooting and Stealth

Accessibility: 22 features

Developer: Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Before I Forget

Release Date: 01/07/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Accessibility: 9 features

Developer: 3 Fold Games (@3FoldGames)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

What Remains of Edith Finch

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

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

Price: 70% off

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Giant Sparrow (@GiantSparrow)

Players: This is a single player game

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.

Empty

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 25/09/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Web and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Accessibility: 12 features

Developer: Dstrm (@_Dstrm)

Players: This is a single player game

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.

The Sims 4 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 04/02/2000

Price: 54% off

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

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: EA (@EA)

Players: This is a single player game

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

Content Rating: PEGI 16

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

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Point-and-Click, Puzzle and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Dukope (@Dukope)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Orchids to Dusk

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 03/12/2015

Price: Free

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: Ko Op Mode (@KoOpMode)

Players: This is a single player game

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.

Dépanneur Nocturne

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 26/05/2020

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative

Developer: Ko Op Mode (@KoOpMode)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Hindsight

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Mc D Joel (@McDJoel)

Players: This is a single player game

Hindsight is a narrative puzzle game where your memories combine with objects to transport you into the past. Rather than a fantastical adventure, this is a gentle game that asks you to slow down and pay attention to the little things left behind. Piece...

Leaving Lyndow

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 08/02/2017

Platforms: Mac, PC and PS4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: Eastshade (@Eastshade)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Tux and Fanny

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 09/09/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Point-and-Click

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: Ghost Time Games (@GhostTimeGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Tux and Fanny is a retro adventure game about a two friends who want to play football, but discover their ball has a puncture. The simple set-up, like the pixilated graphics, hide a complex and intriguing journey. You set off to help them inflate their...

Burd

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 20/03/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative and Platform

Developer: Crap Weasel (@Crap_Weasel)

Players: This is a single player game

Burd is a jumping and flying game where you play a pixilated bird who can feed worms to a larger bird to save his world. But to get the worms you have to sacrifice eggs. It starts simple but soon feels ominous, dark and questionable. It's an...

A Plague Tale: Requiem

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: Coming soon

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Puzzle, Shooting, Simulation and Stealth

Developer: Asobo Studio (@AsoboStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Exhausted Man

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Genres: Creative, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Candleman Games (@CandlemanGames)

Players: This is a single player game

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.

Not Tonight (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

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

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Developer: Panic Barn (@PanicBarn)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

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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