10 Video Games That Talk Directly To The Player

The RPG genre of video games has developed rapidly in recent years. Game developers – particularly in the indie community – have gotten incredibly creative with the traditional RPG formula, creating unique and bizarre titles that have received critical acclaim. Whether through niche art styles, iconic soundtracks, or metafictional stories, the modern RPG is often far more immersive than its predecessors ever predicted.

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Of these modern RPGs, there are several that benefit from a specific type of story, one that breaks the fourth wall to communicate directly with the player. The characters in these games are sometimes even made aware that they are fictional and speak to the player as their own entity. These types of stories put a player’s morals in the spotlight and blur the line between reality and fiction.

10/10 One Shot treats the player as the god of his universe

One shot Niko

The indie game has so much more to offer A shot than is first presented. What at first seems like a simple, light-hearted adventure quickly becomes a much darker, more complicated tale about a dying world, a corrupt being, and a difficult moral dilemma. Oh, and players are only given “one chance” to do so.

One of the best aspects of A shot is the way its story interacts with the player. While the player controls the actions of the character Niko, Niko himself addresses the player directly at various times during the game. Niko – and another, more sinister entity – refers to the player as “God”, talks to the player, asks for advice and refers to mechanics outside of their universal knowledge.

9/10 Deadpool knows he’s in a video game all the time

Deadpool, feet on the table and holding a slice of pizza, as seen in his own game

It makes sense that the video game adaptation of Deadpool would have the same meta-humor and fourth-wall-breaking mechanics as the rest of the franchise. The videogame Dead Pool is no exception to Deadpool’s usual presentation, and features hilarious and ridiculous scenarios that the titular antihero may encounter.

Throughout the game, Deadpool not only addresses the narrator directly, but interacts with the player and responds to their choices. Deadpool knows he’s in a video game, but the game’s plot itself revolves around the making of the game in complex ways. The player is his own character in the game’s story, and Deadpool wastes no time insulting him for every mistake he makes.

8/10 Doki Doki Literature Club! Modifies its saved files to manipulate the player

Monika keeps the player in the Doki Doki Literature Club for herself

The hit phenomenon Doki Doki Literature Club! may seem like a happy dating simulator, but it’s actually a dark and complicated psychological horror game. As the story progresses, the player slowly learns that some of the characters are aware that they are in a video game and use the simulator to speak directly to and form a relationship with the player.

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The confident characters in it Doki Doki Literature Club!, In a desperate attempt to force the player to fall in love with her, they manipulate the game’s code and files throughout the story. Other characters are erased from the game’s data, save files are corrupted, and the player’s real name is used to break the fourth wall on multiple occasions.

7/10 The ending of Mother 3 is ambiguous and self-aware

An image of gameplay for the game Mother 3 with the character Lucas

the mother Series – also known as the earthbound Franchise outside of Japan – is famous for its unique approach to the RPG genre, as well as its meta-humor and bizarre plots. While all three of mother Titles include moments when the fourth wall is broken, mother 3 has the most direct and meaningful conversations of the series between its characters and the player themselves.

The plot of mother 3 is complicated, including various elements such as time travel and memory manipulation. It’s unclear if the game’s finale has a good or bad ending, and the characters, including the protagonist Lucas, explain what they think happened after the final fight and say goodbye directly to the player.

6/10 Spec Ops: The Line challenges the player to celebrate fictional violence

The main characters of the game Spec Ops: The Line

The tenth and last part of the special operations Franchise, Spec Ops: The Line, is one of the more ambitious and unique titles. Although the game became a commercial failure after its delayed release, it gained a huge cult following and was praised for its story and dark themes.

Spec Ops: The Line is a powerful commentary on the horrors of war, the cost of being a hero, and the consequences of hard deeds. The player witnesses the characters’ sanity slowly deteriorating as the storyline progresses, and the game’s loading screens alternate from offering helpful tips and advice to scolding the player’s actions and accusing them of treating violence and murder as entertainment.

5/10 Melissa Heart is about a vengeful dating simulator AI

Melissa Heart dating simulator horror game

Melissa Herz is a retro tech visual novel available on Itch.io with a unique premise and clever theme. Originally presented as a dating simulator via an Apple II digital computer, the game’s main character, Melissa, quickly emerges as a murderous and manipulative AI out for revenge on humans for treating them like a fictional game.

Various dialogue options are available to the player to communicate with Melissa during a series of “dates”, but Melissa’s attitude slowly changes as the game nears its finale. Not wanting to be abandoned or forgotten, Melissa begs the player directly before threatening world domination and destruction.

4/10 NieR: Automata requires several different playthroughs to complete

2B from Nier Automata playing the violin

The second and newest installment from Square Enix NieR Franchise, NieR: Automata, is considered to be a far more impactful and visually appealing title than its predecessor. The story is complex, requiring multiple playthroughs and saving files to complete, and treats the game’s fictional narrative as something influenced by out-of-universe forces such as B. the player himself.

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After playing through the game several times, from different character perspectives and with several alternative “endings”, the role of the player in the story is then dealt with directly. The existence of the game’s save file itself is crucial to the fate of the game universe, and the complete tampering or destruction of the save file has a direct impact on the ending of the story.

3/10 Pony Island allows the player to reprogram their code

Pony Island - Horror Gaming

The first presentation of Pony Island is deceptive. What looks like a retro-inspired arcade cabinet quickly becomes a point-and-click metafictional adventure, where the game turns out to be possessed by Lucifer himself and inhabited by the souls of countless other previous players.

To advance in the game and free the souls trapped inside Pony Island Code, the player must “reprogram” the game and allow themselves to cheat and circumvent Lucifer’s impossible challenges. With the help of one of the captured souls, the player is given portals to the game’s core files and is allowed to interact with the characters themselves through programming.

2/10 Undertale wants the player to treat their characters like real people

Chara from Undertale

One of the most famous indie RPGs is Undertale, an 8-bit story about a fallen human and an underground kingdom of monsters. The game is famous for its numerous endings, often directly asking the player to rethink their actions and treat the characters in the game like real people.

Not every character in Undertale is aware that they are fictional, but those that are often speak directly to the player. If the player kills enemies during the playthrough, various characters will beg them for mercy. If the player shows mercy, the game’s antagonist will attempt to stop the player from completing the game in an attempt to “save” the universe before the game’s post-credits ending.

1/10 Deltarune tries to convince the player that their choices don’t matter

Deltarune character creation

The ongoing continuation of Undertaletitled delta rune, is similarly metafictional in its narrative and narrative style. The story thus far deviates from its predecessor by limiting the interaction between the player and the characters in the game, but the opening of the first chapter has a unique sequence that suggests that the player is still directly involved in the game’s events is.

The beginning of delta rune throws the player into a strange character creation menu that allows them to “build a body” and asks unsettling, often ridiculous, personal questions. However, after the player creates their avatar, the game throws away the file, claiming that the player has no control over the events to come.

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