Video game developers are designing games that are more detailed, clearer, and sharper than ever before. Moreover, what keeps gamers hooked on a particular video game is the interesting story or plot. Nowadays, interactive, fiction-based video games are very popular and well-received.
Some games use a first-person point of view like a shooter with a background story and mission. Other games focus heavily on adventure and exploration. There are ones with puzzles, text-based ones, and ones based on novels or movies.
The options are endless when it comes to interactive story games, so you can be sure that you’ll find the right game for you.
- A Brief History Of Interactive Story Games
- How Are Interactive Story Games Different From Other Games?
- Best Interactive Story Games: Ranked
A computer-based interactive game is like a choose-your-own-adventure game wherein players get to decide the outcome of the characters’ lives and the narrative of the story.
Interactive fiction was first released in 1975 with Infocom’s Adventure. Then, the Zork and Ultima series was the second one to be introduced. In the mid-1980s, Douglas Adams adapted his best-selling book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as an interactive title and made it into a game. These games could all be played on a personal computer.
In the 1990s, MUDs or multi-user dungeons were introduced. These allowed multiple players to gather together in online virtual worlds. Present-day massive multiplayer online (MMO) games like World of Warcraft trace their history back to MUDs.
At present, one of the most famous interactive story games is Sims. It’s really the first game that comes to mind when thinking of interactive stories because of its wide reach and the massive population that plays it.
In Sims, you, as a player, get to create your entire world and customize it according to your preference. You also develop relationships with other characters by interacting with them and even forming families.
Over the years, many more interactive story games have risen to fame. Moreover, games that were originally released on the web or could only be played on a personal computer can now be downloaded from the iOS App Store and Android Play Store and played on mobile devices.
The success of an interactive story game depends heavily on the balance of the story dramatization and user participation. An interesting narrative is one that gradually builds up the tension between characters and events over time. Players feel deeply involved with every decision since everything they do will affect the course of the game and the lives of their characters.
Interactive story games focus on the characters or protagonists in the game or story. Gameplay involves controlling how the characters go through the game, making decisions that will affect their lives within the game, and how events will advance.
Of course, there are also weapons, enemies, and battles that you need to face, but the focus of the storyline revolves around the protagonists and their choices, all of which have consequences.
Another thing that differentiates interactive stories from other games is the degree of difficulty. Typical action or strategy games have challenges or enemies to beat, and there are many levels that must be completed. We’re not saying that interactive story games are easier, but they’re more about the characters’ choices and how they affect the story than fighting or winning battles.
If you prefer this type of game with awesome storytelling and engaging graphics, then read on.
Now, let’s go through the list of the best interactive story games that players from around the world enjoy. You can try any or all of them. Have fun!
1. Until Dawn
This interactive story game was first developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment in August 2015. Until Dawn is a survival game that follows the stories of eight friends who go to Blackwood Mountain for a winter getaway. Each player takes on the role of one of the friends, and all must fight for their lives.
2. Ace Attorney
Ace Attorney is a novel adventure game for Game Boy Advance that was released in 2001. This interactive series now has ten game titles, including an anime and a live-action Japanese film.
In this game, the player takes the role of a defense attorney. You can investigate cases, collect evidence, and interview witnesses.
Ace Attorney was initially released for Nintendo but is now available on mobile devices. The original Ace Attorney Trilogy HD is available for iPhone.
3. Detroit: Become Human
Released in 2018, this interactive adventure game centers around three android characters that can be controlled through each episode. The players’ decisions can drastically affect their respective android characters’ lives.
4. Dreamfall Chapters
Dreamfall Chapters takes place in a futuristic fantasy world. In this interactive game, users control the characters as they go on expeditions, explore environments, and solve mysteries.
Originally developed for PC, Dreamfall is now available on Xbox One and PS4. The franchise has two more installments, The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. It was developed by Quantic Dream and is being published by Sony Interactive.
Firewatch is a first-person adventure game that follows a fire lookout called Henry, who works in Shoshone National Forest. The setting is 1989.
You can control Henry and go exploring through the forest, uncovering various stories and mysteries. You can have conversations with Henry’s seniors and other acquaintances via walkie-talkie. It’s up to you how you handle these conversations to advance through the game.
Campo Santo developed Firewatch, and in February 2016, it was published by Panic.
6. Life Is Strange
This interactive story game was developed by Dontnod Entertainment and then published by Blackwing Foundation in January 2015.
The player takes control of the main character in the story: a photography student who can rewind time. You can interact with other characters and obtain different items, and everything you do has a direct effect on the storyline.
Life Is Strange is available on PS4, Xbox One, iOS, and Android. Life is Strange: Before the Storm can be played on Steam, PS4, and Xbox One, with a free version for iOS and Android. Last but not the least, Life is Strange 2 is available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
7. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
If you love action-packed interactive story games, then this one is for you. A product of CD Projekt Red, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is set in an open world. You’ll be fighting many enemies and strange creatures as the Witcher, Geralt. You can influence who lives and dies, which can alter the course of the game.
8. The Walking Dead
This interactive story game was developed in April 2012 by Telltale Games, which is a well-known company that develops adventure-based games. The Walking Dead series is undoubtedly one of their best ones. It has excellent storytelling and unforgettable characters.
The Walking Dead is an episodic adventure game set after a zombie apocalypse in Georgia. It’s available in seasons one to five.
9. The Last Of Us
The Last of Us, like The Walking Dead, is an interactive game where you get to kill a lot of zombies, but its main plot is on the post-apocalyptic atmosphere and the relationship between the protagonists. Users can control Joel through the different survival scenarios as he tries to protect Ellie, his teenage surrogate daughter.
This interactive story game is based on Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! Gamebook novels, a four-part spin-off series of the larger Fighting Fantasy series. In this game, you’ll encounter a lot of magical moments when you need to make a choice that can change how your story will go.
11. Heavy Rain
Heavy Rain is a gripping action-adventure interactive video game developed by Quantic Dream and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2010. The game focuses on four protagonists and their involvement with a murderer known as the Origami Killer.
The Origami Killer uses long periods of rainfall to drown his victims. The player then decides what actions the characters perform to change the narrative of the story.
This game is played from a third-person perspective, and the user is faced with quick-time events. This means that the player has to decide quickly after the appearance of an on-screen prompt.
12. Choice Of The Deathless
This interactive story game has a very interesting and terrifying plot: You have to save your soul while fighting demons and other creatures. This game is purely text-based, so don’t expect any sound effects.
The story revolves around the normal life of several students trying to manage their everyday tasks, work, and relationships. They do this in a land of demons and witches. You can opt to make your own character — male, female, another gender, dead or undead, etc.
Choice of The Deathless is available on Steam as an iOS or Android application. You can also download it for free on the game’s website.
13. Device 6
Device 6 is a thrilling and intriguing interactive story game that entwines games and literature. While playing, you’ll come across numerous puzzles and mysteries.
The story follows Anna, who wakes up on a remote island with no recollection of what happened and how she got there. Players have to solve the puzzles to go further into the story.
This game was developed in October 2013 and can only be downloaded and played on iOS.
If you appreciate video games filled with terrific storytelling, then you must try interactive story games. Many of them are now available on different platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch. There are a lot of options to choose from, so you don’t have any excuse. Find one that piques your interest, and you’ll surely get hooked.