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.
A Mortician's Tale
Platforms: PC and iOS
Genres: Adventure and Narrative
Duration: Between 1 hour and 75 minutes to complete.
Players: This is a single player game.
Costs: Purchase cost.
A Mortician's Tale is a management game where you play as a mortician, Charlie, working in a funeral home. As you play, you handle bodies of the deceased, including cleaning and beautifying them, as well as dealing with embalming and cremation. The dead...
Duration: Between 10 minutes and 12 minutes to complete.
Tree is a short 15 minute game that tells the story of a boy who plants a small tree. You control the planting, watering and how the tree grows each season. As you do this the years pass and the boy...
Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and PC
Duration: Between 5 minutes and 10 minutes to play a round.
Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room, but you can’t play it online.
Kissy Kissy! is a running-around game where you build defences against getting kissed by the grannies. You play Tiger and Bee, onesie-wearing grandchilden who don't want to be kissed
Adventures With Anxiety
Platforms: Web Browser
Duration: Around half an hour to complete.
Adventures With Anxiety is a mini-adventure where you play, as a red dog who is the inner protective voice of a young person. Your role is to guard them against danger, although as you do you cause them anxiety in different ways.
Platforms: Android and iOS
Genres: Physically Active and Puzzle
Duration: Between 3 minutes and 5 minutes to play a round.
Bounden is a smartphone dance game that gets players to use their bodies. Two people hold opposite ends of one smartphone then move together to keep a cursor over the ball.
Platforms: Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Genres: Physically Active and Platform
Duration: Between 3 hours and 4 hours to complete.
This is a platform game with a twist. One player uses a controller to run and jump around the level; a second player stands in front of the Xbox Kinect camera and appears on the screen in silhouette. This person must use the outline of their body to...
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Genres: Fighting, Platform and Puzzle
Duration: Between 2 minutes and 10 minutes to complete.
Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room, but you can’t play it online.
Gerrrms (yes, Germs with three r's) is a light-hearted infection themed fighting game. You control one of 12 tiny germs and fight for dominance within the human body. However, you can only move around by swinging from hooks inside a corporeal arena....
Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and iOS
Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Platform
Duration: Between 4 hours and 6 hours to complete.
Gris is a platform game where you guide a young girl through a crumbling world. Through beautiful metaphoric landscapes and soaring music, the game touches on emotions of loss and longing but doesn’t resolve to a firm narrative. Although not hugely...
Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Duration: Between 13 hours and 30 hours to complete.
This is a platform game that requires players to use jumping and climbing moves to ascend an increasingly challenging two-dimensional mountain. You play Madeline, who is, perhaps unsurprisingly, haunted by self-doubt at the task in hand. She presses on...
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One and iOS
Genres: Action, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation
Duration: Between 6 hours and 7 hours to complete.
Most games design their controls to be easy and accessible. Octodad: Dadliest Catch takes a different approach. Using a combination of sticks and buttons, it creates an awkward, stomach-churning feeling of having too many limbs that you can’t directly...
Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle
Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.
Stacking is puzzle game where characters are Russian stacking matryoshka dolls. Controlling the smallest doll in the game, Charlie Blackmore, you go on an adventure. Your main ability is that you can stack and unstack into larger dolls and gain their...
Thomas Was Alone
Platforms: Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Xbox One
Genres: Action, Narrative and Platform
Duration: Between 3 and a half hours and 6 hours to complete.
Control different-coloured rectangles in this simple running, jumping and puzzle solving platform game. It sounds boring and derivative but each of the distinctly coloured shapes comes to life in the game as a character embroiled in this escape story...
Wide Ocean Big Jacket
Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS
Genres: Narrative and Open World
Duration: Between 1 hour and 2 hours to complete.
This is a game about camping. Or rather, it's a game about the conversations you have while you are camping. You follow 13-year-old teenage friends Mord and Ben who recently started dating. The camping trip is with Mord’s Uncle Brad and Aunt Cloanne.
Sea of Solitude
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Platform
Sea of Solitude is an adventure where you play a young woman, Kay, with such strong loneliness that her feelings turn her into a monster. As you explore a flooded city you discover dark creatures that you must deal with -- by uncovering their underlying...
Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Wii U, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS
Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Platform
Duration: Between 3 hours and 5 hours to complete.
Never Alone is a running, jumping and exploring game based on the traditional Iñupiaq tale, "Kunuuksaayuka". You swap between controlling an Iñupiaq girl named Nuna and her Arctic fox companion as you complete puzzles and move the story forwards.