Is there a subject you wish more games would explore?

Recently I’ve been thinking about how much I’d like to see video games try to incorporate more non-monogamous relationships into their stories. Which got me to thinking, you folks like video games and are all knowledgeable about a wealth of stuff, I’m sure there’s plenty of stuff video games could do a better job exploring that I haven’t even considered.

So, I’m curious if there are any particular subjects, themes, or ideas that you would like to see more games explore?


Call it pandering but I sure as hell would like to see more translator characters or mechanics in games.


no heterosexuals
no dads
no guns
no quests
designed by people who have interests other than video games


I can think of like, a game with translation mechanic that isn’t just like “KNOW X LANGUAGE TO READ THIS”, and I can’t think of a single character that is specifically a translator or interpreter.


Actual, real world topics, without elves or androids as stand-ins for black people, LGBT people or any other oppressed group. Playing 1979 Revolution: Black Friday and Detention is such a refreshing experience because they have this earnest discussion of real world, historical people and issues that you so rarely get in games.


Careful what you wish for. I’m pretty sure most Ubisoft and Quantic Dream games are designed by people with no interest in video games.


I was going to say, I know many game directors who’d much rather be directing movies.


Funnily enough, the joke used to be that it’s Japanese game devs who want to make movies, mostly because of stuff like Metal Gear Solid. Lotta projection there.


I am reminded of discussion earlier in the Tactical Tuesday streams about wanting a X-Com style game where you had to manage the personalities and stresses of the soldiers - so in addition to the mission-based tactics layer and the global strategy layer, you had an interpersonal layer managing the soldiers and support staff - not in a worker placement Fallout Shelter kind of way, but in a “help Alexei work through the grief of losing his best friend” and “Get Castillo to open up before he drops dead on a mission from stress” but also “help Cameron and Elena finally admit that they are into each other and would be happier together.”


Games with trans people doing cool shit without their transness being used as a backdrop for tragedy and hardship.

Mass Effect really gonna go in and say that in the year 2000-whatever-the-fuck, being trans is still stigmatized. yeah iight… sorry your vision of the future is so limited and shitty.


Is kickboxing a subject?

looks over thread



I’d be interested in seeing games tackle the depth of mother-son relationships from the mother’s perspective. It seems like we have plenty of options for father-son bonding, but not the reverse. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus came close with BJ and his mother Zofia.


@sandalinbohemia @LaSauce you might be interested in The Gostak. It’s an Interactive Fiction game written in a fictional language (that uses English grammar). It’s sort of a puzzle game where you have to figure out the meanings of various words using only grammar and context clues.

Personally, I’d love to see more games about science. I want games that actually deal with the nitty-gritty details of experiments, observation, and note taking. Crafting and tech trees seem really popular right now, and there’s certainly no shortage of games that use stuff like “alchemy” as set dressing, usually for some sort of economics sim or puzzle game. Science is inevitably reduced to “spend 10 science XP to get a new thing”.

I think Zachtronics games are probably the closest thing to what I’m imagining, but even those games come with tutorials and instruction manuals that explain everything. Imagine playing Shenzen I/O, but instead of building circuits you get an oscilloscope and a notepad and you have to reverse-engineer some alien electronics.


Generally, more protagonists who are moms would be a welcome change - it’s not an archetype that gets used all that often. I remember finding out in Mass Effect that my Shepard’s mother was some kind of badass admiral and was really disappointed you never got to meet her.


part of the reason i love Robert Yang’s work so much is he thinks about what it means to ‘interact’ with the world in a far more interesting way than most mainstream developers. The Tea Room is one of my favourite games for a lot of reasons, but at least one part of that is because it stresses that looking is an active action, unlike in most games where you can bounce around and stare and cause a ruckus and provided you don’t hit the Interact Button then it doesn’t carry consequences.

when you drill down into it, the reason that’s usually the case is that mainstream games are still being made by dominant hegemonic groups who are allowed to look without consequence. to give an example of the active look, a white person can stare at the police as they drive past, whereas a black person is much more likely to avoid their gaze or to at least be aware of how looking at them could draw attention to themselves and carry consequences. looking is not a neutral act.

i want more games which engage with the look as an active expression of power. there are other places it’s been used - first example which comes to mind is “look at who you want to die” in wolfenstein, although that’s sort of cartoonish and you still have to hit that interact button - but rarely is it as central and important to the game itself as it is in Yang’s games.

sorry, that’s not a Big Subject thing, but it is very important to me.


I think about this a lot, too.

In some way I think games like This War of Mine, even with how it changed the real life social dynamics of people living under siege, are a step in the right direction. Or even something like Black the Fall envisioning a future wherein the regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu did not end in 1989. Then there is also the (in)famous art game Train which explores complicity albeit in a very Spec Ops: The Line kind of twist. Though I know these are not the same as what you mentioned yourself.

I will say this: as an Ukrainian I would very very much love to have games exploring or seriously gamifying more of Slavic history, especially around the parts that people do not know so much about. I do not want a game about Chernobyl, everyone knows Chernobyl. Give me something exploring the tragedy of Holodomor or go way way back and give me a political simulator about the rise and splintering of Rus.


Oooh, I’m always here for interesting uses of language in games. Thanks for the rec!

Better, more human, preferably civilian stories about World War II, especially in Asia. I wish someone would do a game a la Valiant Hearts about people living in Manila during that time. (Hell, I’ve wanted to write that game for the past month now.)


I’d like to see a game try to upend the power-fantasy paradigm that is at the core of so many games. By the end of most games you absolutely dominate whatever universe you’re operating in; you have the best weapons/gear, you have the best stats, your empire is the dominant force in the planet or galaxy. Even games where it can be a struggle to get very far (They are Billions, say) it’s still the point of the game to eventually dominate the opposition or at least be able to control the mode and manner of your interactions with them.

It would be fun to see a game where the protagonist is relatively powerless, both in a plot sense but also a mechanical sense. A game where avoiding conflict is important and in a more robust and systemic way than the stealth game tack where you are absolutely engaging in conflict, just being sneaky and indirect about it.

Relatedly, I’d like to see more games leverage interactivity as a way to force the player to do things, rather than let the player do things. Again, I’d like to see this on a systemic level, not in the moral choice/do you wish to kill this NPC or that NPC place where it lives now.

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Still holding out for a decent space cowboy RPG.