Video games aren’t just for introverts, but some games are better suited to being alone than others. And while some games are social affairs, allowing you and your friends to explore rich worlds full of vibrant characters, many games strip away these elements, filling the world instead with remnants of people.
Rather than happening during the action, these games occur in the aftermath, after everyone has either died, left, or mysteriously vanished. Far from being empty, though, these games often offer innovative storytelling techniques that draw you into the world, even when it seems like there’s nothing left to explore.
7 Town Of Light
You don’t really want to start exploring the asylum in Town of Light, but it’s been decades since you were admitted as a teen, and visiting is the only solution you can think of to recover your memory. The place may seem abandoned, but it’s alive enough with the nightmare of your incarceration that you might forget the outside world. Is the village outside those walls inhabited? It’s difficult to say. All you know is that the flashbacks are getting darker, and there’s a creepy doll that keeps moving around on its own. Maybe you should have brought a friend after all.
6 Alone With You
In most games, being trapped on a dying world all by your lonesome would be a horrifying experience. Not so in the surprisingly wholesome Alone With You, where you play the last person alive on a planet that you failed to terraform.
You are trying to find a way off the planet, but the experience is far from terrifying. Instead, you'll be drawn in by the atmospheric grandeur of a dying world, explore the planet in comforting retro colors, interact with holograms of your deceased crew, and maybe even find love.
Most of the time when you’re playing the original Myst, you’ll be wandering around an abandoned island, solving puzzles and rifling through books that are actually prisons. There are several people that speak to you from these books, but for the most part, you’ll be out on your lonesome, exploring different worlds and lost civilizations.
While later games like Uru and Riven followed up on a similar style of gameplay, they lack the stark isolation of the original. A spiritual successor to games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent without being scary, Myst thrust you into a world where you felt like anything was possible, even without other people.
4 Everybody's Gone To The Rapture
Like the Left Behind series so popular with evangelicals in the early aughts, almost everyone in Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’s sleepy village of Yaughton has disappeared. Despite the title, this isn’t because God came in to scoop them. Actually, you’re not really sure why everyone has vanished, but there are strange lights in the sky which sometimes kills animals. So, you’ve taken it upon yourself to find out what it is.
Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture then takes you on an emotional journey that explores the nature of loneliness and death that will leave you gasping for breath. It may be the end of all things, but is that really so bad?
3 Return Of The Obra Dinn
Unlike many of the entries on this list, the Return of the Obra Din doesn’t take place after some world ending catastrophe. Instead, you play as an insurance inspector with the power to see into the past who was tasked with investigating the wreck of the ghost ship Obra Din to see what happened to its crew.
Over the course of the game, you’ll interact with a lot of bodies, but unfortunately, none of them are living. Instead, you’ll use the clues that you find examining them to uncover affairs, mutinies, and even an assault by a race of under-sea crab people. Just another exciting day in insurance.
2 Gone Home
Gone Home ostensibly tells the story of Katie Greenbrier, who travels back to her family home in Oregon to find it abandoned, but the real story is of her family, and why they left in the first place. As you pick your way through their possessions, you’ll find the tale of a family slowly falling apart due to interpersonal turmoil and, possibly, a ghost or two.
Impressively, Gone Home allows you to tell the story at your own pace, picking it up through notes and records that you find along the way. It also maturely deals with a young LGBTQ relationship, something that the gaming community hasn't always had the greatest history with.
1 What Remains Of Edith Finch
Every member of the Finch family has died except for one. This isn’t that unusual, but the Finch family has a habit of passing on in unusual ways, like being hit by a train after thirty years of staying inside. Unbeknownst to you, the last surviving Finch, your great grandmother Edie has memorialized each of these family members in their old bedrooms, so that each tells the story of their life and death.
Like some other narrative-based games, What Remains of Edith Finch isn’t about you so much as it is about other people. Unlike other games, you don’t talk to a single one of them. Instead, you explore the stories of your own family, and in doing so try to come to grips with your own mortality.
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