Video games have come a long way since a couple of digital plumbers hopped around the Mushroom Kingdom on a mission to save a beautiful princess. While it’s still possible to find these types of retro titles, modern video games offer a completely different experience.
The evolution of tech means that there’s almost nothing that’s impossible, with software studios creating visual effects which are hyper-realistic. Although high quality is standard across the industry, there are some video games which really stand out due to their unusual themes and/or visual design.
Below we take a look at three different categories, and some of the best examples of each.
Existential Immersive Experience
Death Stranding is set in a post-apocalyptic world which manages to be desolate yet beautiful simultaneously. The protagonist must travel around, while carrying a baby in a jar, collecting dead bodies while delivering supplies to the various survivor shelters. That may sound simple enough, but there’s the small matter of the Beached Things. These horrors are monstrous souls who are trapped, and are incredibly hostile to any living entity.
But this is more than just another disaster-themed game. Death Stranding examines the human beliefs around death and what happens to the soul, creating a world that fuses the paranormal with the everyday environment.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Senua is the main character in this videogame, a young Pict warrior who struggles with a debilitating psychotic illness. The story follows Senua’s descent into Helheim on a quest to bring her lover back to life, saving him from the goddess Hela.
The game is heavily influenced by Celtic and Norse mythology and the imagery leans heavily into the fantasy genre. This creates spectacular visual and sound effects which are accompanied by an intelligent storyline which uses metaphors to examine abuse and mental health.
BDSM Elements in Missions and Style
Saint’s Row IV: Enter the Dominatrix
On playing Saint’s Row IV: Enter the Dominatrix you’d be forgiven for thinking you were visiting one of the popular BDSM dating sites for finding a casual partner due to the deeply stylized kinky imagery onscreen. An alternative version to one of the previous Saint’s Row games, Enter the Dominatrix offers a theme which delivers exactly what the title suggests. If you’re a regular on BDSM dating sites, you won’t find the prevalence of latex outfits, gimp masks and rubber unusual, but this isn’t your typical game. With explicit scenes of self-pleasure coupled with sadistic violence, there’s a strong kink theme to this game which should be deeply satisfying to fans of this genre.
GTA San Andreas (Casino Mission)
GTA is one of the most popular video game franchises, and the San Adreas title is no exception. Filled with plenty of unethical and violent missions, it’s the casino mission and Millie that offers up some tantalizing visual aspects.
Following Millie from the casino will take you to a sex shop where she’s trying out outfits. To continue the mission you’ll need to slip into a BDSM-themed gimp suit, which you’ll later discover really presses Millie’s buttons! As you approach Millie’s house, you’ll need to take down Benny, and steal the sex toy he is carrying. This will give you the option of engaging in casual, BDSM-themed action with Millie, allowing you to pass the mission.
If you’re looking for a lead character that oozes sexual confidence and isn’t afraid to lean into the BDSM world, the Bayonetta series games are for you. The lead character is a shapely witch who has an odd habit of losing some of her clothing as she launches an attack! Rather than being objectified, Bayonetta claims her sexuality and isn’t afraid to use her body for maximum advantage. Attacks are carried out with a series of fetish-style weapons, but Bayonetta especially likes to use her high heels, hair, and legs to subdue an enemy. There’s plenty of strong plots, but from start to finish, Bayonetta never veers from the overtly sexy theme.
Unexpected Simulator Games
Simulators are fun if you like a game with a leisurely pace and the ability to carry out a range of everyday activities in a digital world. Powerwash Simulator ticks all of these boxes, giving an oddly satisfying experience of rinsing down a variety of items using a powerwash. As the game progresses you’ll have different items to wash, and more powerful tools. The effects are immersive and there’s a curious attraction to wanting to see each item shiny and clean!
This isn’t about rock music, but an actual rock! A concept so bizarre that it sounds like a joke, Rock Simulator is about spending time just watching a rock on screen. The longer you watch, the more levels you’ll unlock with alternative settings and different skins for your rock. The game offers a Zen-like experience, invoking a sense of calm as you enjoy the movement of the sun across the sky, the light dappling on your rock and the tiny details of the world around the rock. There’s no controls, no way to move, and no changes that can be made; this is quite literally just about chilling out and enjoying a rock.
It’s not often you’ll get to lope around the screen as a goat with a giant sticky tongue but that’s what’s on offer here. An open-ended, sandbox game, there’s no overarching goal other than to charge around doing as much damage as you can. Uncover the hidden statues to unlock variations on the standard goat theme, one of which turns you into an ostrich!
Along with other technical advancements, video games offer untold opportunities to plunge yourself into deeply satisfying environments which are unlike anything you’ll have seen before. From the simple to the kinky, sophisticated and fantastical, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the modern era of video gaming.