6 Games to Play Based On Your Favourite TV Shows

A promo for Big Little Lies season 2 with Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz and Shailene Woodley standing together facing the camera.

One of my favourite things about games is that they can tell strong, immersive stories. You can go on a journey with the characters in a game.

You don’t have to identify as a hardcore gamer to immerse yourself in these stories, either. There are lots of accessible games that focus on telling stories and exploring ideas instead of shooting guns, swinging swords or using powers. In fact, there are so many that there’s bound to be a game you vibe with — and to help you find The One, we’ve rounded up the best games to play based on your favourite TV shows.

Best of all, every game recommended here is available on Steam for under $30.

If You Like The Good Place, Try Afterparty

Like Kristen Bell’s afterlife comedy, Afterparty ($28.95) uses deeply dark humour to explore what happens after death. In the first sequence of the game, friends Milo and Lola die, although they — and you — aren’t sure how. You’re also not sure why you’ve found yourself in hell after living a mundane, not-evil sort of life. Your goal is to get yourself out of there through the only plausible means: winning a drinking contest with Satan.

Milo and Lola’s absurd adventure to persuade shady characters and navigate morally ambiguous situations in hell will be familiar to viewers of The Good Place, and capture your attention just as well as the show.

If You Like Black Mirror, Try Eliza

Eliza ($21.50) is far less of a horror show than some of the creepier Black Mirror episodes, but just like Black Mirror, it explores the role of increasing technological capabilities on society. You play as Evelyn, a tech worker who helped developed an AI counselling technology called Eliza. Now, that technology is owned by a huge company and you’re an entry-level counsellor, curious about how your work is being implemented.

Talking to clients in crisis and saying only what the AI tells you to say, you wonder if your invention has really served to help people or if Big Tech is exerting too much control over people’s personal lives.

If You Like The West Wing, Try Suzerain

The iconic political drama series was known for its idealistic rendering of running a country. Suzerain ($21.50) takes it a step further and asks: if you were in charge of a country emerging from considerable crisis, would you stick to your ideals? What if wealthy business lobbyists offered you massive bribes? What if protestors threatened to kill you or your family? What compromises would you make in order to pass legislation?

Suzerain lets you play President and see how your decisions and priorities might play out in your political and personal life, and for the future of your country.

If You Like The Office, Try The Stanley Parable

Much like The Office (especially the UK series and the early seasons of the American series), The Stanley Parable ($21.50) offers a humorous take on the surreal nature of white-collar work. You play as Stanley, an everyday office worker during an average, boring day on the job when something strange starts happening. A disembodied voice starts narrating what Stanley will do next — the question is, will you do what the voice says? And what happens if you don’t?

The Stanley Parable gets better with every replay as you explore new choices, hear new jokes and experience multiple endings. Amid the simple, choice-driven gameplay and genuinely funny jokes, the game encourages you to reflect on the nature of corporate life and maybe even take back some control from head office.

If You Like Big Little Lies, Try Her Story

The story of Big Little Lies unfolds slowly. You get pieces of information out of chronological order, and part of the fun is in trying to piece together what happened and who is guilty of what. Her Story ($14.50) has a similar charm. You’re presented with video clip excerpts of a woman who’s interviewed by the police seven times about a crime she’s suspected of committing.

The clips don’t appear in order; instead, you find them by searching for relevant keywords pulled from interview transcripts. As you orient yourself in this fragmented story, you begin to understand what really took place. It’s a surprisingly satisfying experience to figure out a story in this non-linear way, and a great story to spend an afternoon with (Her Story is about 2.5-3 hours long).

If You Like Bojack Horseman, Try Gone Home

When you start playing Gone Home ($21.50), you think you might be entering into a horror story but you’re actually entering into something far more serious and moodier. It’s reminiscent of Bojack Horseman — a story of depression, anxiety, grief and regret that’s disguised as an animated comedy about a once-famous horse.

In Gone Home, you’re returning to your childhood home after a year abroad, expecting your family to greet you. What you’re actually greeted with is a dark, spooky and empty house. Nothing jumps out at you though. Instead, you’re exploring the threads of a more mundane mystery: life. Like Bojack Horseman, Gone Home deals with the intersections of nostalgia, family, identity and finding joy even when it’s hard. And like the show, it tells a story that stays with you.

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