Citizen Sleeper is in These Lists
In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to Citizen Sleeper in the following lists:
We are used to books, films and radio programs challenging our assumptions on subjects. Adam Curtis, Louis Theroux and David Attenborough have powerfully used film to change perspectives and values.
Less well known is how many video games tread a similar furrow. These are games that not only tackle difficult subjects, but get beneath the usual binary perspectives to create new ways of thinking about these themes.
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.
Setting aside games that evolve through simulation, or games where once you die it's game over, these branching narrative games tell a story that ends in a certain way because of the choices you made.
In a culture that often assumes that the route to happiness is with another person, it can benefit us to acknowledge that being alone is not always a bad thing. We teamed up with Courtney Garcia’s Screen Therapy channel
to curate a list of games that give us a chance to experience being alone in different ways.
Garcia’s Screen Therapy
project employs Positive Media Psychology research to highlight and interpret meaningful experiences with games and movies. “With mindfulness, there are even more benefits to gain from intentional consumption of media,” she says, “games can be tools we use to recover or grow, psychologically, and our time with them isn't wasted if they provide us insights or rest we need.”
This list was inspired by the experience of playing the unusually solitary (and long) game The Longing
and the Twitter thread
that followed. In it, you spend 400 elapsed days waiting for the King to wake up and living at a slow pace. The other games offer their own lens on loneliness and solitary seasons of life. These games offer us insight into the benefits of appreciating time alone, such as opportunities for self-reflection, self-discovery, and the chance to curate enriching experiences or environments for ourselves.
Some of the games, like Never Alone
and The Long Dark
place you in a harsh environment that emphasises your diminutive size when faced with the expanse of nature. Other games in the list, like Thomas Was Alone
and Bird Alone
offer you the chance to reflect on friendship and the need to nurture relationships. Then there are games we included like Shadow of the Colossus
that let you get lost in the vastness of its landscape. Finally, a few of the games like The First Tree
invite you to make a connection to other players, once you have come to terms with a journey on your own.
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.
These games present you with a mysterious scenario to be solved. Whether with direct puzzles, locations to investigate or crime scenarios to deduce, they offer a unique, first-hand sleuthing challenge.
We have partnered with the National Literacy Trust
to create this resource of video games that encourage and enable reading and writing skills.
The National Literacy Trust is a charity dedicated to improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of children and young people who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life.
Video games have significant benefits for children who are reluctant or struggling readers. They give them access to stories through interaction and world building which they may not have been able to read in print. Video games also have benefits for families where parents may not be confident readers, meaning that sharing stories as a family is still accessible to all. The rise of video games on smartphones and tablets, as well as more affordable game consoles has made the sharing of interactive stories easier.
There are different ways that video games create this kind of collateral reading and aid literacy:
Reading In Games: Video games offer all sorts of reading at all levels. This can be from simple narrative in a game like Florence to dialogue in a game like Mutazione or even just identifying useful items and game mechanics with in-game descriptions in a game like Zelda Breath of the Wild. Then there are games like Thousand Threads that help players think about the power and the consequence of words.
Reading Around Games: Video games create worlds that often spawn secondary texts. This can be official novels that expand the world or guide books that offer instructions and help. Knights and Bikes, for example, has spin off books, a cartoon series and recipes to read.
Routes Into Books: Many popular book series, such as Beast Quest, offer a range of video games as an easy first step into those worlds that lead to then reading the books themselves.
Communication Around Games: As well as reading, games encourage all sorts of creative output. This can be to contribute to the many online forums and message boards to talk about the game. This can also be to write fan-fiction after being inspired about a game world or character. The Sims, for example, has an avid community writing and creating all kinds of content online.
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.
The games in this list are emergent ways to tell stories. Some of these, like Sea of Thieves
, put you in worlds that offer opportunities for adventures. Others, like Loop Hero
, task you with setting up a challenge for adventurers to take on. Then there are games like Wildermyth
and Road 96
, that have near-magical algorithms that let you influence and evolve adventure stories by the choices and performance of your characters.
Being able to discern between reliable sources and unreliable sources of information is an important skill for children to develop. This starts with questions of trust and authority but then leads to decisions about how we use and share information ourselves.
We've worked with Childnet International
on this list of games that help children and young people experiment with what they should trust and the potential unintended consequences. Childnet International is an online safety charity working with others to help make the internet a great and safe place for children and young people. They believe that the internet is a wonderfully positive tool for children and young people. Childnet are also part of the UK Safer Internet Centre and organise Safer Internet Day in the UK every February.
Some of the games, like Thousand Threads
, either put them in a world where what people say and believe impacts the other characters. Other games, like Headliner
, put the player in charge of information so they can see the consequences first hand of its misuse. There are even games, like Papers Please
, that enable the player to police who is and isn't allowed access to information or even access to the country.
As Childnet write, "Critical Thinking is an important skill that we need in order to navigate the internet safely and find the latest news headlines or facts and information. With the amount of content that is online sometimes it’s quite easy to be reading something that is inaccurate without realising."
These games each provide different ways for players to develop critical thinking. They provide a space where trust and authority can be experienced first hand, and where the negative and positive consequences of how we handle these topics play out.
Video games offer an opportunity to inhabit another body. Whether we step into the powerful frame of a trained marksman or brave adventurer, while we play we have a different sense of our physicality.
This is not only an enjoyable way to escape the reality of daily life but a chance to reflect on and understand ourselves, and our bodies, better. Stepping into the shoes of a vulnerable, small or endangered character can help us understand for a short while some of what it is like to be someone else.
Whether this is into the awkward teenage years of Mord and Ben in Wide Ocean Big Jacket
, the grandparent-escaping Tiger and Bee in Kissy Kissy
, the fractured heartbroken body in Gris
or the haphazard movement of Octodad
we have a chance to reassess our own physicality and how we respond to and treat other people's physicality.
More specifically, to use body therapy language, games offer us a chance to discover the inviolability of our bodies, personal autonomy, self-ownership, and self-determination. In travel, as Andrew Soloman says, we go somewhere else to see properly the place where we have come from. In video games, we step into other bodies so we can better understand our own and those of the people around us.