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Five Video Games on the Meaning of Life


Decisions, regrets, love, trust, sacrifice, romance… These video games invite us to experience and reflect on all of this through brilliant avatars.

As in all media, in video games there is a place we can go when it comes to existential matters. They are not just a means of escape and entertainment, but they are, above all, a place to experience what it means to be human. By “turning into” another, we can gain perspective on that. The Guardian recently made a selection of existential videogames of which we chose these five which, in addition to being visually exquisite, touch on themes regarding what moves us as humans in the perennial search for something more.


Journey (2012)

video game image of rolling hills with a lone figure walking

This fascinating short game is about travelling across a wasteland to an enormous mountain. A simple and perfect metaphor for life. The game is cooperative via an online connection, but the person that walks with you remains anonymous until the end. One must trust in the goodness of the other with only very rudimentary forms of communication.

Lesson: Life is all about a journey, and not a destination. Also, be good to strangers.


Life is Strange (2015)

video game image of a girl playing a guitar

An episodic adventure about a young man who discovers that he can travel in time. But what the game is really about is the notions of responsibility, effect, love and that there are no fundamentally good or bad decisions, simply those that we can experience.

Lesson: you cannot save everybody that you know.


The Novelist (2013)

video game image of a many using a typewriter


This video game follows the story of a family that rents a vacation home and discovers that it is haunted: by you. The father is a frustrated writer, the mother a painter, and you must decide how to reconcile their ambitions while taking care of them and their children.

Lesson: If you love somebody, you must make sacrifices for them.


Civilization (1991-2015)

video game image fo a map of hexagon areas


A macro-perspective of human life, this series of strategic games has much to say about what motivates us, and the way in which things in the world function the way they do. The aim is to guide the world from the Stone Age to the Space Age, but each decision that you make must consider the happiness of the people.

Lesson: What we all want is peace.


To the Moon (2011)

video game image of a clifftop and starry sky

This meditative adventure is also about love, longing and regret. Set in a future in which scientists can manipulate the memories of people who are going to die so that they can be at peace, your job is to give somebody who is dying the experience of traveling to the moon.

Lesson: if you want to do something, do it. Do it now.

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