7 Of The Best Artistic Video Games For Creative Inspiration

Video games have come a long way in thirty years. Before they were mere abstractions of what a world or story could be, now they include all of that and more. Some even win awards for their incredible orchestral scores or storytelling. Yet it’s true, that many unfamiliar with the medium still assume most involve conflict, violence, weaponry and more. 

That’s not necessarily an unintelligent impression, video games like this do sell most of all, after all, even classic games like Minesweeper are about bomb disposal, but it’s important to recognize that budding artist can gain a lot from this medium if they pay attention to the right titles.

As such, in this post, we aim to discuss seven of the best video games for your creative inspiration. Sometimes, engaging in a creative world is just what we need to overcome that writer’s block, or to feel rejuvenated and inspired once more.

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1. Cuphead

Cuphead, a platforming shooter, is celebrated for its incredible vintage art design and graphical fidelity. With a combination of film grain, deceptive slow frame rate, and animation quality, the game has been prized for its exploration of a classic 1930s art style transported to the modern era. It shows that bringing the past into the future is as valid an artistic approach as any other, and how sometimes classic formulas can absolutely work today. The game shows that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel for every future outcome.

2. The Stanley Parable


Have you ever wondered how video games are scripted? Well, the Stanley Parable is curious too. It’s a game about a man named Stanley working in his formulaic office building, realizing that all of his colleagues have left.

As he explores the winding office building to find them, physics starts breaking and sense flies out the window. Throughout all of this is an erudite narrator explaining Stanley’s journey, pre-empting decisions you make, mocking choices you consider appropriate, and sometimes even fighting with you. It’s a hilarious game but shows that sometimes, meta-humor and irony can be narrative devices worth exploring.

3. Outer Wilds


Outer Wilds is a space exploration game but with a great twist – the planets of the solar system are continuously orbiting the center, and you can fly to any one of them. On each you find a character from your space explorer’s club, all playing one section of a combined song. It’s a beautiful game with incredible vistas, sharp puzzles, and the lore of a lost civilization to find. It’s one of those must-play titles that showcase an enduring sense of hope against the void of space and defines just how well-designed interacted experiences can be.

4. Disco Elysium


Disco Elysium is an amusing game on the surface, but the depictions of a hapless detective trying to find his way in a fallen state offer some of the best writing in the video game market. 

With incredible narrative paths to follow, hilarious voice acting, comical character design, introspective themes, and challenging moral choices, it’s not hard to see why this game has won so many awards and many refer to it as the pinnacle of sharp and shrewd writing. Any budding writer would do well to play this game over and over and experience some of the narrative tricks at work firsthand.

5. Hellblade: Senuas Sacrifice


Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is an intense, often violent game boasting incredible presentation. It’s set in the midst of a Norse setting with mythology and brutality around every corner, but at its heart tells a story of Senua looking to redeem the soul of her slain lover. Senua experiences psychosis, a hard-to-understand condition even in the modern day. However, the presentation is incredible and has won awards for its sound design.

Not only do you see hallucinations, but hear voices as you march through the harsh landscape. The voices are acted by a stellar cast who narrate your journey, bring life to Senua’s fears and confusion, and show the tragedy of this character. If you’re looking to explore a touching and respectful depiction of the realities of mental illness in such a fantastical location, you could do much worse than experiencing Senua’s story. As of the time of this writing, a sequel has also been released.

6. The Witness


The Witness is an interesting games that challenges us to think differently about our perceptions. On the surface it’s a puzzle game comprised of many line and logic puzzles. But as you complete them, you start to notice more about the world outside and the environment you’re part of. This also means using elements of the world to complete certain challenges, to unlock hidden secrets, and to open up pathways you might not have seen otherwise.

The Witness is considered one of the best and most thematic puzzles games on the market, and is available for most platforms. Moreover, the game inspired parodies poking light fun at how self-serious it was. The parody game “The Looker” is a great place to start if you want a taste of the format.

7. Dear Esther


If you appreciate great writing, the genre known as the “Walking Simulator” might be best for you. Dear Esther was known to be among one of the most pioneering games in this field. Starting life as a mod for Half-Life 2, Dear Esther subsequently became a fall game. In it, you walk around a Scottish Hebridean landscape while listening to the journal or letter entries of an unnamed man.

The script is considered to be one of the most poetic in video games, with the landscape shifting as you walk and ponder the meaning. While there are no easy answers here, it’s hard to deny the beauty of the surroundings and what they have to offer. If you’re at all interested, Dear Esther can be found on the PC and some consoles. 

With this advice, you’ll be sure to find a video game you enjoy for that creative inspiration. Perhaps it could even encourage you to contribute your own artistic talent, be that for design, writing, art or music, and curate your own project going forward.

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