Most video games send similar messages. Fun, entertainment, and relaxation. But, other video games are not designed to let your brain rest, they were created to make you think. Thought-provoking games such as Detroit: Become Human and Agony are meant to make you uncomfortable and grateful for having picked them up and played them. You may rethink your every decision, wish you had found the best ending, or wonder about a specific line of dialogue.
Below are 9 thought-provoking games that may just leave you sleepless after playing them. Go to your local store and see for yourself.
#1 ALAN WAKE
Alan Wake was created through five years of development. This game centers around the life of writer, Alan Wake, as his writing turns into reality. The monsters he placed on the page haunt him as he searches for his wife who has disappeared. Remedy Entertainment took their time creating this game and it was well worth the developmental period as it is a thought-provoking masterpiece that will leave you wondering who is real, what really happened, and can Alan ever trust another human? For that matter, can Alan trust himself?
#2 FINAL FANTASY VII
Centering on the theme of identity, Final Fantasy VII follows Cloud, who has misplaced himself in a haze of memory loss and characters that can’t be trusted. The basis of the game is the quest to find out who Cloud is and the journey is filled with intrigue as you travel with the unreliable main character. The climax is surprising and what you find out about Cloud’s past will be well worth the hours of play.
#3 FALLOUT 3
Bethesda released Fallout 3 among a large expanse of opposing opinions. Some loved it while others were not fond of it. Fallout 3 creates a world that is close enough to ours where it feels familiar. In addition, you must navigate everyday and not-so-everyday scenarios like arguments and finding shelter n the end of the world. Your job is to make one decision: live in comfort after allowing innocent people to die or disarm the nuke that threatens your city. Fallout 3 needs a lot of thought and many of the consequences will not be clear until the game goes on. Like real life, you are not able to see the future and once a decision you must stick with it throughout the game. After finishing, you may feel regret, pain, and immense empathy for the struggles of your player.
#4 SPEC OPS: THE LINE
A military shooter game, you may think you have seen them all, but Spec Ops: The Line’s depth will surprise you. Like other military games, you start as a team tasked with heading into a sandstorm in stealth mode to find soldiers. But, this is where the game takes a turn for the worse. You learn that your team is not the hero, but something far more sinister…
With straightforward graphics, the cult classic will draw you in and not let go. The storytelling is masterful and each character’s personality is so unique that they stand out as their own people. As you get further into this game you will wonder at the metaphors and quirks of the characters. You may think of all the reasons they became as they are. Psychonauts pulls you into a world of instability and asks you to find its origins. The characters will stick with you and may leave you thinking long into the night of all of the possibilities you can and can’t know.
An indie game that can be purchased through Steam and other platforms, Observer is a cyberpunk masterpiece created by Bloober Team. You play as an Observer, who is a member of the neural police, and dive into the minds of the insane to discover their fears. All thoughts, emotions, and memories can be used against suspects in the court of law. If they are suspected of a crime and don’t remember or refuse to, you will remember for them.
#7 DARK SOULS
While the entire game is a thought-provoking mind-bender, Dark Soul’s true brilliance shines in its side stories. The characters and their journey through this wasteland of misery and decay were created to send you on a quest for the truth. But, as the lore is constantly changing through rewrites and debates, you may never get to the bottom of the lives of the mysterious characters in this masterpiece of a game.
#8 RED DEAD REDEMPTION
Though initially thought of as a knock-off of Grand Theft Auto without the cars, Red Dead Redemption is a gem of a game that throws you into John Marston’s worlds as he struggles to save his wife and son after they are abducted. You will grow close to Marston, the unsavory characters he interacts with, and his desire to just be happy. Will he save his wife, his son, himself? The answers are waiting for you.
#9 THE WALKING DEAD
A point-and-click spin-off of the popular TV show, this game was extremely well-received. It features many grueling decisions that need to be made quickly and showcases how the humans may be just as scary — or scarier — than the undead that chases them. Similar to Fable’s structure, you choose the character’s actions, dialogue, and the side they fight for. Do you want to be the hero or the villain? The choice is yours, which one will you decide?
Video games can, at times, get a bad rap for being all about entertainment and little about the deeper meanings, but these 9 games have set the stage for some heartfelt questions and journeys. Whether you are mastering a controller or just using your mouse, you can find stories and characters that have been delicately crafted to leave you speechless. Pick up one or all today and enjoy the sound of silence when you are done. After that, share with your friends, family, and anyone else who loves good games that make you think.