It’s not long now until our sci-fi platformer and auto-runner 3EALITY will be released. Josh and Sean have been working incredibly hard (read more about our progress here) and we are happy to say that we are almost there! Working on the game these past couple of weeks has got us thinking about some of the amazing games the sci-fi genre has produced. Being all about speculation and imaginative world-building, you could say that there is no genre better suited to gaming than science fiction. Here are some of the ones we loved and that have inspired us!
Half-Life (1 + 2)
While I have never played through the entire series myself, I have fond memories of my dad letting me bash aliens with Gordon’s red crowbar as a ten-year-old. Whether you like the games or not, you can’t deny that the Half-Life series – which turned 20 last November – is a pioneer in the sci-fi genre. Playing as theoretical physicist Gordon Freeman, you have to escape from the Black Mesa research facility after a lab experiment goes horribly wrong, opening up a space-time rift that allows aliens to take over the facility. Half-Life 2 picks up years after the events of the first game, with Gordon learning that the earth has been taken over by the alien Combine. This second game especially combines all the elements that most people look for in a good sci-fi game: an oppressive, dystopian setting, alternate realities, and shooting loads of aliens.
Space Invaders is one of the most popular arcade games of all time and one of those games that everyone knows. While, as an arcade game, it’s fairly simplistic and doesn’t have a complex story or gameplay, it’s impact should not be underestimated as it has paved the way for many sci-fi games to come. The game was created by Tomohiro Nishikado, who originally designed it as a game where you had to shoot people, airplanes and tanks. However, as development company Taito didn’t want to create an image of war, Nishikado eventually changed the characters into monsters. With Star Wars just having been released in the US and proving to be extremely popular, he decided to focus on aliens. Taking inspiration from HG Wells’ War of the Worlds, he created the pixelated octopus- and crab-like creatures that everyone nowadays knows and we use in pretty much every single post on 3EALITY👾.
Portal (1 + 2)
The portal games turned out to be a big success as they offered something different: rather than fighting your way through alien-infested lands, you have to puzzle your way through the Aperture Science Laboratories by creating portals and manoeuvring yourself and objects through space. Rather than it being scary monsters or shady government agents, the villain is a rogue A.I. called GLaDOS who promises you cake. The games are funny, smart, and challenging as they force you to think in ways that other games don’t.
These are only a few of the amazing sci-fi games out there, others including Deus Ex, Mass Effect, the Metroid games, and a more recent example being Detroit: Become Human – which I am currently playing. What is your favourite sci-fi game?
Until next time,
The Handprint Games team