"Gateway Games": Games That Led You To Other Media / Culture


I’m not sure if there’s already been a thread about this, but one of my favourite things about games is that they can often be a great example of a “gateway” medium that leads you to all kinds of other things. A few examples for me are:

  • Probably the earliest one of these is Final Fantasy VII, which, through the Loveless poster, led me to My Bloody Valentine and their album of that same name. There’s something about the whole atmosphere of the album that reminds me of Midgar, and (by coincidence) some of the digitally sampled textures hearken to Nobuo Uematsu’s soundtrack as well: the prime example being ‘Touched’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET_lQvOBgPc).

  • The Silent Hill games were another massive one as well; I could argue that my entire exploration of the horror genre has been an attempt to recapture the feeling of playing Silent Hill 2 on grey days in my little bedroom on the old CRT monitor. What I love about those games is how they synthesised their influences into something distinct: they weren’t just paying homage to horror cinema (arguably Silent Hill 1 kind of was), but used all kinds of weird reference points to create works of horror that stand on their own. Most significantly, Silent Hill introduced me the work of David Lynch, so COLOSSAL THANKS TO TEAM SILENT.


Deadly Premonition lead me down a David Lynch hole that I have yet escaped from.

A quick disclaimer, I actually did not hands-on play DP myself, I watched a “Let’s Play” of it.

I was, and still am, absolutely enamored with Deadly Premonition, which as many people have observed and remarked on, is suspiciously similar to Twin Peaks. I had the pleasure of not having watched Twin Peaks prior to Deadly Premonition, so when I found out that there was source material to this game I absolutely adored, I was ecstatic. As an added bonus for me, Twin Peaks: The Return was just around the corner, which gave me something to look forward to weekly.

It’s 2018, and I have consumed the following David Lynch works…

  1. Twin Peaks Season 1 + 2
  2. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
  3. Twin Peaks: The Return
  4. Mulholland Drive
  5. A handful of David Lynch’s musical endeavors, including “Crazy Clown Time”
  6. This 20 minute youtube video of David Lynch cooking Quinoa

and I think I can very safely say, I actually don’t like David Lynch’s work at all, despite wanting to enjoy his works. I still have a couple more David Lynch movies I am planning on tackling, but at this point I’m on my knees pleading to be let of David Lynch’s wild ride.


Was it SuperGreatFriend’s LP by any chance? (I ask because that was my intro to Lynch… my Lynchro)


It definitely was their playthrough! It was a goodie! Thank goodness that I had the privilege of watching that game being played. I’m almost certain if I had to play that game and actually drive everywhere in game I would’ve given up half way through.


This isn’t quite the same thing, but the first time I heard Stand By Me was in that FFXV trailer (shameful I know). Which lead me to listening to the original Ben E. King version and becoming mildly obsessed with it for a bit.

I also read a bunch of Ayn Rand after playing Bioshock, but stopped because Ayn Rand is not good. But I’ve still maintained a fascination with her and recently read this graphic novel biography The Age of Selfishness, which I would recommend. It’s a pretty limited perspective, but it does a really good job of poking holes in Rand’s basic philosophy.

I play guitar, so Will the Circle Be Unbroken has been a staple for me since that Bioshock: Infinite trailer and I’ve used it in a variety of musical settings.


Ayn Rand is definitely a fascinating individual (speaking, to clarify, as someone who finds objectivism a nadir of adolescent selfishness rendered in philosophical terms) - I keep meaning to finish watching the Adam Curtis doc ‘Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace’ (might have gotten the title wrong) partly about the impact she’s had on contemporary tech and economics. It’s on Vimeo somewhere, I believe.


That sounds fascinating! I’ll have to check that out. The Age of Selfishness is partially about that as well. Part of it explains the 2008 financial crisis and the influence of Rand’s philosophy on it. Allen Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006, was a objectivist and it discusses that a great deal.


Objectivism is great because once you learn about it then you realize how many elected officials are complete adolescent idiots and it really de-mythologizes the a lot of stuff about politics.

As a child’s reaction to what Rand went through during the Russian revolution, it makes sense, in a way. But it’s completely unsupportable as a serious framework for adults, because it is quite literally a small child’s approach to the world. So when you find out somebody like the Chairman of the Fed wholeheartedly believed it, you start to realize that America’s meritocracy is a complete myth.


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. led to me reading Roadside Picnic.
The Metro games led to, well, the Metro books.
Witcher 3 made me curious about the Witcher series enough to pick up The Last Wish, which was good enough that I read all the books in the series that were translated into english (note, I enjoyed The Last Wish the most)

Age of Selfishness

Good comic, I remember it being fairly scathing about Rand, but honestly she deserves it.


This one is it for me, too. Also getting into Andrei Tarkovsky movies was a direct result of me loving Shadow of Chernobyl.