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Interpret Deeper Meaning

Video games aren't high on the list of most people's spiritual spaces. However, many games offer experiences that invite you to explore buildings, worlds, cities and the countryside full of potential for spiritual reflection.

Games offer a unique way to encounter what is beyond us: other people, the world and possibly even the divine. They include themes of hope, loss and love. They invite us to reconsider how we see the outsider and the marginalised. They offer a chance for response and emotion to grow.

The games in this list have been the subject of a series of articles I have written about video games and faith. Firstly, from 2013-2015 for ThirdWay magazine, and more recently for Youth and Children's Work (YCW) magazine.

These are two publications for Christian audiences, that have invited me to shed light on what a range of video games might mean for those communities. I aim to make connections with faith, the bible and the experience of these video games. This is one way to interpret them which of course invites further and possibly counter interpretations from other perspectives.

YCW articles:
Firewatch | Everything | Bury Me My Love | Abzu | Wilmot's Warehouse

Thirdway Articles:
Proteus | Joust | Uncharted 3 | Alan Wake | This War of Mine | Journey | Limbo | Spaceteam | A Dark Room | Altos Adventure | A Year Walk | Bioshock Infinite | The Last of Us | Disney Infinity | Everybody's Gone to the Rapture | That Dragon Cancer | Spec Ops The Line | Papo and Yo

This list includes 32 games from the last 14 years, with 410 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to muse on deep topics.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 18
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Racing, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Strategy and Turn-Based
Total Likes: 410
 

 

Journey

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 11-16 year-olds

Release Date: 14/03/2012, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Genres: Adventure

Accessibility: 8 features

Developer: @ThatGameCompany

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 2 players online

This is an adventure in a desert. Exploring the eerie sand-scape, you discover a world abandoned by the race that created it. The sense of space and scale evokes feelings of aloneness and being lost. But then the game pairs you with other players, one...

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14-18 year-olds

Release Date: 19/11/2016, updated in 2017

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Shooting

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: @Naughty_Dog

Players: You can play this with 10 players online

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is an action-adventure game set several years after the events of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. You play Nathan Drake, a happily married former treasure hunter coaxed out of retirement by his brother. This leads into...

Before Your Eyes

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 08/04/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: @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...

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

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...

The Last Of Us Left Behind

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 14/02/2014

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Shooting

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: @Naughty_Dog

Players: This is a single player game

The Last of Us is a survival adventure game where you play Joel, a father figure, looking to protect a girl in his care, Ellie. The game creates a fimlic and emotional experience that extends beyond the usual zombie shooting to offer an interactive...

Abzu
PEGI Rating 7 for Abzu

Abzu

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 02/11/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure

Accessibility: 6 features

Developer: @GiantSquidology

Players: This is a single player game

Abzu is an adventure in a lush underwater world. You descend into the heart of the ocean to find ancient secrets and encounter majestic creatures. This combines the beautiful weightlessness of diving with an ancient story of meaning and place in the world.

The Last Of Us

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 14/06/2013

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Shooting

Accessibility: 22 features

Developer: @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...

Alto's Odyssey (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Release Date: 19/02/2015, updated in 2018

Price: Free

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

Genres: Action, Platform and Racing

Accessibility: 13 features

Developer: @BuiltBySnowman

Players: This is a single player game

Descend beautiful mountains, dunes and canyons on a snowboarding journey full of serenity and secrets. All you have to worry about is tapping to jump to avoid chasms, rockfall and other hazards. It’s simple and moreish due to the stunning landscapes...

Everything

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Release Date: 21/03/2017, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: @DavidOreilly

Players: This is a single player game

This is an unusual game that simulates a world where you can become any object. It sounds strange and not much fun, but the enjoyment is in discovering how small or how big a thing you can become. From tiny atoms to whole planets and everything in between.

Alan Wake

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Release Date: 14/05/2010

Platforms: PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Shooting

Developer: @RemedyGames

Players: This is a single player game

Bright Falls is the sleepy Midwest setting for this Twilight Zone-style horror game. The action focuses on surviving attacks from possessed ‘Taken’ locals. You use flashlights to burn away the possession before dispatching them with firearms. It’s...

A Dark Room

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8-12 year-olds

Release Date: 10/06/2013, updated in 2019

Platforms: Switch and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Strategy and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: @DoubleSpeakGame

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Limbo

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 05/06/2013, updated in 2015

Platforms: Android, PS Vita, PS4, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 15 features

Developer: @Playdead

Players: This is a single player game

Control a small boy as he runs, jumps and climbs through a dark, silhouetted forest that clanks and hums with foreboding. As the age-rating suggests, he is killed in all manner of gruesome ways. But this is not without reason. Rather than violent...

Wilmot's Warehouse

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 29/08/2019

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

Genres: Puzzle

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: @FinjiCo

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room

This is a game for people who like to organise things. You are in charge of a warehouse and must manage 100s of items of stock. These identical square boxes are labelled with rudimentary icons. On your own or with another player, you must decipher what...

Joust Mania

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 11/06/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3 and PS4

Genres: Action, Fighting and Physically Active

Developer: @AdAngert

Players: You can play with 16 players in the same room

This movement-sensitive game of tag is played in the real world, holding PlayStation Move motion controllers. First appearing as one of the games in the Sportsfriends pack, and then evolving as Joust Mania with more modes and up to 16 players, it’s an...

That Dragon, Cancer

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 12/01/2016, updated in 2016

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Point-and-Click

Accessibility: 28 features

Developer: @Numinous_Games

Players: This is a single player game

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 challenge. It’s a unique...

The Forgotten City

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 28/07/2021

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: @ModNStoryTeller

Players: This is a single player game

The Forgotten City is a mystery adventure. You explore and relive the final days of a cursed Roman city, where if one person sins, everyone dies. It starts as a bewildering array of characters, locations and information but over multiple goes your...

Bioshock (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 21/08/2007, updated in 2016

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Shooting

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: @GhostStoryGames

Players: This is a single player game

Bioshock is a first-person shooting game set in a fantastical underwater city. A dark story unfolds about the misuse of surgery and gene therapy. Players must make a decision about whether to save the children they find or harvest their energy for the...

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 12/08/2015, updated in 2016

Platforms: Mac, PC and PS4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Accessibility: 15 features

Developer: @ChineseRoom

Players: This is a single player game

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture lands you in a fictional deserted English village in 1984. As you walk the streets of another era you discover bright human forms who re-enact events like a radio play. Through their eyes, you see a web of fear,...

Fate of Kai

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 19/03/2021

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: @TryLightGames

Players: This is a single player game

Fate of Kai is a narrative puzzle game where you control the story rather than the characters. You discover Kai's story by walking through the panels of a comic book. It's a tale about a boy who wakes in a strange land handcuffed to a mysterious chest....

Journey of the Broken Circle

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 18/09/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @NakanaGames

Players: This is a single player game

Journey of the Broken Circle is a rolling and jumping game about looking for a life partner. You play as a simple circle with a piece missing. As you progress by making jumps and solving puzzles, you meet partners who slot in specific abilities and...

Spaceteam (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 01/12/2012

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Action, Physically Active and Puzzle

Developer: @Hengineer

Players: You can play with 8 players in the same room

Players pilot a spaceship, each with their own control panel on their smartphone or tablet screen. The switches, dials, sliders and levers are labelled with randomly-generated peculiar names: ‘Astral Synth’, ‘Gripvent’, ‘Starmesh’,...

The Talos Principle

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 11/12/2014, updated in 2019

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @Croteam

Players: This is a single player game

The Talos Principle is a narrative driven puzzle game, praised for its cerebral and philosophical nature, where you play an android with a human conscience. You explore environments to complete complex brain-teasing puzzles to collect "sigils".

This War Of Mine

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 14/11/2014

Price: 91% off

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

Genres: Narrative, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @11BitStudios

Players: This is a single player game

Inspired by the 1992–96 Siege of Sarajevo, this is a war game where you play the civilian trying to survive during the fighting. You face tough decisions on how to spend time and resources each day to maintain health, hunger and mood levels until a...

Papo and Yo

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 14/08/2012

Platforms: Mac, PC and PS3

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @We_are_minority

Players: This is a single player game

Papo & Yo pits you as a young boy, Quico, exploring a Brazilian city slum. As you solve puzzles and perform well-timed jumps to progress through the city, you must also deal with a monster – both real and metaphorically representing your alcoholic...

Proteus

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 4-12 year-olds

Release Date: 30/01/2013

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3 and PS4

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: @Andy's Pick:1:rgba(0,153,51,0.8)

Players: This is a single player game

This game takes you to a pixelated island. As you explore you discover that your presence changes the seasons and time of day. Delving deeper, there are rudimentary interactions with the creatures that inhabit the land, and rain clouds that blow in from...

Lifeslide

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9-14 year-olds

Release Date: 19/09/2019

Platforms: Apple TV, PC, iOS and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Narrative, Open World, Racing and Simulation

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: @DreamTeckStudio

Players: This is a single player game

Lifeslide is an adventure where you fly a paper place through an ever-changing landscape. It's a metaphorical journey through the stages of life as you learn to use eddies and up-drafts to soar higher and further.

Spec Ops: The Line

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 29/06/2012

Platforms: PC and Xbox 360

Genres: Fighting, Narrative and Shooting

Developer: @YAGERdev

Players: This is a single player game

Spec Ops: The Line is shooting game played in third-person where you with an emphasis on squad-based tactics, and calling in support technology and firepower. Unusually, the player needs to make moral decisions at certain points during the game that...

The Magnificent Trufflepigs

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 03/06/2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Developer: @ThunkdGames

Players: This is a single player game

The Magnificent Trufflepigs is a narrative game where you use a metal detector to explore an old farm. As you do you retread old relationships in the English countryside. You'll find and dig up treasures to share with your friend Beth over a...

Golf Club: Wasteland

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 11-14 year-olds

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

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

Genres: Narrative, Puzzle, Simulation and Sports

Accessibility: 29 features

Developer: @Demagog_Studio

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 27/04/2011, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Point-and-Click, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: @SuperBrothersHQ

Players: This is a single player game

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is an adventure game in miniature. You explore a myth-rich world and use yoursword to do battle and evoke spells to solve musical puzzles. It's a world and game that changes with the moon as you guide your wandering...

The Beginner's Guide

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 01/10/2015

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @HelloCakeBread

Players: This is a single player game

The Beginner's Guide is a narrative game where you explore a series virtual environments while the game's creator tells a story about the person who made each space. This introspection presents a raw and at times heart breaking look into the mind of the...

Unmaze

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 21/06/2021

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: @ARTE_Interactif

Players: This is a single player game

Unmaze is a mix of puzzle game and graphic novel. Inspired by the myth of the Minotaur, you help Asterion and Theseus to guide them out of the maze. However, you can only help one at a time. Using the phone's camera the game lets you help Asterion when...


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