10 Video Games That Have Deeper Meaning To Them

10 Video Games That Have Deeper Meaning To Them

Spending some time in a digital world, either alone or with your friends, can be a great way to decompress and relax. Most games also tell you a story.

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As is often the case with stories, many have underlying meanings that may be hidden from you at first glance. It may take some digging, but these themes may become more apparent after a playthrough or two. Whether it’s a parable that connects you to humanity at large, or a more pointed argument about society today, there are quite a few games with some pretty deep meanings.


11 Understatement

Undertale Flowey provides the guidance on how life works

Undertale Flowey provides the guidance on how life works

What may at first seem like a cute 2D puzzle game may actually surprise you with how it approaches its moral dilemmas.

Choices in a video game may seem simple enough, although the choices you make in Undertale will not only change your character, but show your own morality. Learning about and then defeating enemies leads you to a choice, do they die for their actions or do you forgive them? A tough moral dilemma when faced with some of the enemies’ reasoning, and not to be expected from such a cute game.

10 Travel

The traveler looks at the mountain in the distance in the desert in Journey

This game takes the concept of a walking sim to a whole new level. While it may seem like a simple game to show off some impressive graphics, the setting actually tells quite a story with quite a deep meaning behind it.

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The story itself draws parallels with heroic odysseys. A single character has one goal in mind and must cross seemingly endless expanses to reach it. The shifting sands and ruins make the character think about life, and how it too, like a journey, ends at some point. Goals, life, death, age and what is meaningful to us all come up in this quiet walk across the sand.

9 BioShock

bioshock intro no gods or kings just man andrew ryan banner

Horror is often a genre full of underlying meanings, no matter what media the genre comes in. Video games are no exception, and Bioshock is perhaps one of the most poignant examples.

As your character uncovers the almost endless horrors that took place in Rapture, this FPS horror game becomes more and more meaningful. What does power do to people? Who will have power? As you meet the different faces of Rapture’s hierarchy and what drives them, you also see what sins they have committed as power has destroyed them almost completely.

8 Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 arthur morgan strikes a blow

This game on the surface is a fun look into life on the frontier during the days of the Wild West. As you play through the game, however, you will face moral choices, and those choices affect what the story has to say about Arthur Morgan.

Ultimately, Arthur’s choice when you enter the game lies behind him. Every terrible thing he’s done has begun to weigh on him, and he feels cut off from the rest of his gang. From there, you are given the choice: do you double down on your misdeeds, or do you try to make a new name for yourself? Either way, your actions catch up with you. But, did the people coming after you look up to you or were they afraid of you?

6 God of War (2018)

Kratos and Atreus hunting a deer in God of War

The reboot of the classic series took things a little more seriously when it came to a story. Gone was the bloody revenge story packed with erotic fast-paced events, and in its place is a story of fatherhood.

Kratos has come a long way when we meet him in the PS2-era God Of War. He loses his wife and is now the sole caretaker of his son. A son that he doesn’t really know how to connect with. What follows is some classic hack-and-slash, but with undertones of fatherhood, love and the lengths some will go to protect their loved ones. Even from himself.

5 Fall out

Megaton Fallout 3 Bomb

Fallout has won a place in the hearts of gamers everywhere. From the crazy missions, all the way to the FPS-meets-RPG qualities.

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“War never changes.” Fallout goes into heavy detail showing you what war does to humanity, and especially war when it comes to nuclear weapons. This is not to mention the anti-capitalist and anti-xenophobic themes throughout the game when it comes to McCarthy-era views of communism and non-Americans.

4 Layers of fear

A wooden hallway stretches down into a dark room, with different colors of paint splattered all over the floor and walls

A horror exploration game that sees you take control of a painter who has lost his family. The details of the character’s life are not revealed to you until you start immersing yourself in the game.

On the surface, the game is full of suspense and creepiness similar to other games in the genre. But beneath that are a series of deep opinions and moral choices. You find out that your character is in his current predicament because of his own mistakes. From there you have the choice between coming to terms with the guilt or driving yourself further into loneliness and madness.

3 The last of us

The Last of Us Joel and Ellie with the Hotel level in the background

Zombie games may at first seem like a plot that is exaggerated and maybe even shallow to some. However, The Last Of Us takes the genre and elevates it far beyond just your typical zombie survival game.

The main character Joel has been through a lot. The loss of his daughter has made him stoic and callous. But the job of moving teenage Ellie across the devastated United States changes him drastically. What follows is a story of family, fatherhood and learning to love again. Not to mention what people will do when their loved ones are in danger.

2 Darkest dungeon

flagellant darkest dungeon

This cosmic horror game is a dungeon delver not for those who like an easy time. Leading your group of adventurers through one horror-filled dungeon after another puts stress on not only you, but your characters as well.

Every journey you take your characters on, the more they come back changed from the experience. Insanity, disease, injuries and so many more things can affect your characters. This means they need downtime to recover. All of this shows the dangers of pushing your boundaries and forcing people to go beyond their boundaries.

1 Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium harry characters against the cityscape

Disco Elysium is a detective RPG with a uniquely interesting art style. But that’s not all there is. Below is a moral story that deals with mental health, grief, relationships and what it means to be a person.

We meet the main character Harry in one of the worst moments of his life. From there, the choices you make reflect how Harry lives his life, not only in relation to his job, but also how he treats others and himself. This is one of the most accurate and heartbreaking depictions of mental health struggles in gaming.

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