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Five Meaningful Video Games You Should Play This Christmas

Video games often get a bad rap as little more than a mind-rotting waste of time. To me, this reputation is anything but fair.  There's a whole host of incredibly deep, meaningful video games on the market, if one knows where to look. This Christmas, why not take the time to play a few of them? Who knows? You might

Gone Home

An unconventional, completely non-violent title, Gone Home puts you into the shoes of Kate Greenbriar, a young college student who's just returned home from a year abroad. Unfortunately, her arrival back at her family's home - which formerly belonged to her Uncle - is anything but happy. No one is home, and you have no idea why. As you make your way through the Greenbriar home, bits and piece of their life - and of Kate's sister's journal - will shed scattered insight into the life of a troubled family. 

It's a short experience, but a poignant  and beautiful one, which I highly recommend that you play. 

Journey

As I'm certain you've already heard on countless occasions, Journey might be one of the most beautiful games ever made.  Like Gone Home, it's an entirely non-violent narrative. You are a lone traveler, a pilgrim who has awakened in a vast desert surrounded by burning sand dunes. In the distance, there looms a mountaintop. Somehow, you know that this is where you need to be. So you set out, traversing the ruins of a forgotten civilization, while haunting music plays in the background and other pilgrims wander in the distance.

Even though it's a narrative told entirely without words, Journey is one of the most emotional experiences I've had with a game in a very, very long time. 

The Stanley Parable

Have you ever experienced an existential crisis while playing a video game? Would you like to? The Stanley Parable is a plithy little title with a very British (somewhat warped) sense of humor. It's a comical exploration of narrative dissonance in gaming; a look at why we do the things we do when we play. The narrative - inasmuch as one actually exists - is completely unimportant, and any choice you receive is a complete and utter illusion...

And that's downright awesome. 

The Path

Let's add a bit of horror to the mix. The Path is a simple tale about the journey of six sisters through the woods to Grandmother's house. It's a story we've all heard before - but this time, it's a little different. 

Though the player is instructed to stay on the path to the house, there's no requirement that they actually do so - they're free to explore the woods as they'd like, and this will change what they encounter when they finally reach Grandmother's house. They must be careful, howeverm as a sinister being known only as The Wolf, which takes a different form depending on the sister. It's creepy and distressing in the way only a psychological horror can be, and thought-provoking in such a way that's unique to a truly engrossing video game. 

Red Dead Redemption

We'll finish things off with a more traditional video game. Red Dead Redemption is basically what you'd get by combining GTA V with the Wild West.  That's pretty cool in and of itself, but that's not what makes this game truly incredible: its the story of John Marston, a tale of tragic revenge, redemption, and burning hatred that truly makes this title a masterwork. 

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Nicholas Greene
Nick's Games Haven
InventorSpot.com
Follow me on Twitter @OmniscientSpork