These movie-length games pack an emotional punch but won't lead to you getting a messy divorce because you neglected your family to farm credits to pay for a new colour of rocket launcher.
That Dragon, Cancer
That Dragon, Cancer is less a game than an interactive art installation about a grieving family coming to terms with the death of their young son. “Game” elements include being presented with an array of ways to calm the ferocious crying of a suffering child, none of which work. It’s incredibly moving and utterly unlike anything else, a must-play for indie gamers. This slightly buggy port to iOS shouldn’t dissuade you from experiencing this heartbreaking creation.
Platform: XBO, PS4, PC, Mac
Games that pay overt homage to David Lynch’s seminal Twin Peaks are so common as to be rather tedious, but Virginia is worth taking seriously. A movie-length interactive adventure sees you play a rookie FBI agent investigating the disappearance of a young boy. Its beautiful, cel-shaded art resembles Firewatch by way of Alone in the Dark, and the short play-time makes it accessible to those without dozens of hours to invest in today’s 20-hour plus blockbuster titles.
Platform: PC, Mac
Part first-person puzzler, part interactive chat-bot, Event has you exploring the derelict ruins of an abandoned spaceship with only the ship’s artificial intelligence to keep you company. You type out messages to the on-board computer, asking it to open doors, access logs for clues and turn on lights. The AI detects friendliness in your tone, so over time you build a genuine affinity for the thing, calling it “buddy” in the hopes it won’t go all HAL-9000 and murder you. At just two hours, Event is brief, fascinating and original.