Video game stories for everyone

Don’t play video games? That is ok. Check out these games.

More stories from Winter Heffernan

April 3, 2023

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If you know nothing about video games, you can still enjoy these.

This article is not for all of you who play games on a regular basis or for those who consider themselves part of the gaming community. I love you all, but this article probably won’t show you anything you haven’t heard of. The thing about good stories is, they spread fast.

I get giddy when sharing experiences with others. I like giving tours of familiar locations, and I recommend movies daily. Here are two games with stories I think everyone can enjoy. While these are popular in gaming circles, they haven’t reached popular knowledge, which is a shame.

You work in an office. Every day you press buttons that your elusive boss tells you to press. Your name is Stanley. One day everyone disappears. This is the introduction to “The Stanley Parable,” a game that has the tone shifts of a melodrama and the plot consistency of a nightmare.

On the surface, what makes “The Stanley Parable” unique is that the whole thing is narrated by a lovely British narrator. You can choose to obey what he describes or rebel against it. This obedience or rebellion will influence how the game ends.

This gimmick is not the only thing the game has to offer, however. The humor of the game will keep you engaged. It will predict what you were thinking, mock you for staying in a broom closet for 5-minutes and give you the chance to ruin the narrator’s creative vision.

As soon as you are laughing, “The Stanley Parable will confront you with deep feelings of isolation, insanity and existential dread. The game is entirely empty except for Stanley. The office feels like you are exploring a covid era business complex with dark secrets.

Originally released in 2012, “The Stanley Parable recently got re-released with “buckets” of new content in The Stanley Parable Ultra-Delux. This game explores the relationship between a creator and their audience, the nature of free will, and mind-bending, self-aware, humor.

Remember, the end is never the end.

What stories do you cherish about your family? Which family stories do you keep secret, and hope they die off? “What Remains of Edith Finch” is a game about family, stories and the legacy people leave behind.

In “What Remains of Edith Finch,” your character is revisiting their old family property. However, this family has an alleged curse that goes back generations. This “curse” has led to the premature deaths of each family member.

In the game, you relive the memoir and death of each of these family members. Each one reveals a bit more of the overarching story. 

The game is dark, but not so depressing that it chokes out all beauty. The story sits in that lovely catharsis between joy and melancholy. 

If you like to cry at the end of a movie, I recommend “What Remains of Edith Finch.” This game opens discussions of how you want to be remembered and how stories influence the actions and perceptions of others. It gives an unforgettable experience of somber beauty.

These games are easy. I recommend these two games because they are accessible and simple, you can’t lose them. 

I wrote about these games specifically because they have something for everyone. If you know nothing about video games, you can still enjoy these.

Heffernan can be reached at [email protected].