6 Video Games Every Imaginative Writer Should Try

When it comes to inspiration, the world truly is your oyster! Many of the writers out there will be invested in the gaming world, be it on their computer, console, or even - dare I say it - mobile. Beforehand, one would scoff at the suggestion of a mobile gamer but with emulators on the rise, mobile's are being used for all kinds of retro games!

So, how, I hear you ask, can games help the imaginative writer? Well, certain games absolutely can help and I use certain games to help with my creative process. Some of these games will be dependant on the genre you are writing within, but I have made sure to include entries that can help all the imaginative writers out there. The wide range in game genre may have you scratching your head when you skim over the list, but each game has been justified in it's own way.

Let's dig into my 6 video games I think help with creativity or even stress relief. 

minecraft for the imaginative writer


Game #1: Minecraft

We need to start off with a classic game that everybody has heard about in some capacity; Minecraft. Beginning life, its early alpha and beta phases with only a handful of blocks, mobs, and game complexity, took the world by storm. And this isn't considering the various updates, overhauls, and optional modifications for the base game itself after the game's official release.

It has a unique, dynamic premise that makes it perfect for different people to immerse themselves in whatever interests them. A game can seldom be bad when its main selling point is that its limits are in the creativity of its player. While this is a bold claim to make, it holds true.

Want to explore the countless cave systems? Forests? Tundras? Jungles? Oceans? Or maybe you want to get the best gear and fight the enemies of the night? And if combat isn't for you then the 'peaceful' mode gets rid of it! All this and you can build anything you can conceive?

I would go on to state why it is a good game for the creative mind and imaginative writer, but by this point in the article, I am sure you know that such a game is a wealth of inspiration. All it is waiting for is for you to begin creating!


Game #2: Shape of the World

This second entry will most likely not be known to you, as it has been designed for a very niche purpose. Developed by the indie developer Hollow Tree Games, Shape of the World (SOTW) is primarily an exploration and puzzle-solving game.

With a twist.

It is designed with the primary goal of relaxation. It is a very aesthetically pleasing and wonder-inducing game akin to that of a psychedelic experience. It is often compared to such in the various positive reviews, which heavily outnumber the negative reviews.

The accented art style of the game is something that sets this game apart from not only other games on this list but other games in general. It has a potent quality of exploration at its heart and I almost felt like a child taking my first steps into an unknown world. My only real mission is to explore this world and make sense of it, or to put it rather appropriately, to get the Shape of the world. (Sorry)

Bad puns aside, the game excels at relaxation and serves as a good game to boot up when you need that addicting hit of escapism that gaming often quells; just with SOTW you get a non-combative, psychedelic hit. (I'll stop now)



Game #3: No Man's Sky

And so we wander into the niche territory of this list. But don't worry, I have endeavoured to include a varied selection of different games in specific niches that I think can help with inspiration and creativity. I want to construct a list that can introduce you to new concepts for the budding imaginative writer hidden in all of us.

So, what is No Man's Sky? Well, if you are familiar with the gaming world you may know it due to it's rather infamous reputation it garnered not long after launch. While it's negative past still lingers over the game as it stands today, the content and gameplay is a far cry from what it was at launch.

The game is primarily about space exploration, but rather, the exploration of an infinite, procedurally generated universe. Want to land on that ice world you whizzed by? Then touch down and gets those gloves ready! Or maybe you want to catalogue the flora and fauna, and eerie gloom, of a scorched and irradiated planet?

And then you have the different aliens and space stations to interact with (not to mention other players that you may cross paths with from time to time).

An aspect I find particularly attractive in No Man's Sky is the art style and graphical options. The vast array of flora, fauna, and planet design merged with a vibrant palette of colours makes the universe seem very 'Spore'-esk. For the non-gamers taking a peek at this article, my analogy is to another game but essentially I am describing the art style as cartoon-ish and easy on the eye.

Perfect for the science fiction enthusiast!




Game #4: Fallout New Vegas

Moving onto another niche and we have the post-apocalyptic and/or horror niche. This game is not only a classic for gamers, but an excellent place for horror and fantasy writers alike to find inspiration for their own writing.

The whole Fallout game series including Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, and Fallout 4 are spectacular at setting the scene and immersing the player in their worlds.

There exists a unique charm to each settlement of survivors and the game itself is set decades after a nuclear war that ravaged planet Earth. From Vault dwellers, to ghouls, to raiders, traders, and all the terrifically horrific creatures that roam the wastes, Fallout New Vegas is something different.

It takes place (funnily enough) in and around Las Vegas, but has a unique element to it in that whole organisations of survivors (and sophisticated ones at that) are warring over the little resources left in the world. All the while, Vegas remains Vegas. It is a very unique blend of the post-apocalyptic world the game series has built and the Las Vegas that the world knows today.

The game is heralded as the best game of the Fallout series by many, and with the creativity that went into making it's world what it is, I am not surprised it has earned that title.

For the horror loving imaginative writer, Fallout New Vegas is the gift that keeps on giving.


Game #5: The Elder Scrolls III - Morrowind

Now we are moving into the realm of hardcore fantasy for all the fantasy writers out there. Before Skyrim, and even Oblivion, was the gem that is Morrowind; the third game in the Elder Scrolls series.

Any fantasy writer worth their salt will have heard of the Elder Scrolls, particularly for their different take on Elves and Elvish races. Oblivion and Skyrim do a good job of expanding the Elvish races, so why did I pick Morrowind for this list entry opposed to Oblivion and Skyrim?

Well, Oblivion is a great game with awesome creatures, but I felt that it's scenery and landscapes were a little lacking.

Skyrim? I felt it is too watered down from a gameplay depth perspective and that's not even getting into the dragon versus wyvern argument.

But Morrowind? It has some kind of alien feel to it that Skyrim and Obilvion lack. Between the giant mushroom trees, the varied blend of town architecture, and monolithic Telvanni Wizard towards, Morrowind stands out as a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

It's complex blend of races, over-arching politics, grave threats, and otherworldly creatures gives the player an exotic experience with a foreign land. While the graphics do leave a lot to be desired, graphics replacer mods can take care of that.

If you are a fantasy writer, or budding fantasy writer, this game is certainly one you need to delve into.

morrowind for the imaginative writer



Game #6: Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

Last but by no means least we have another classic retro game (I do love retro games). Grand Theft Auto has long been a gaming franchise that has rattled cages and pushed the limits of the themes that can be incorporated into a game.

And, for the record, if you are reading this and already thinking these games cause violence, you could not be more mistaken.

So, why is a Grand Theft Auto game on this list and why specifically San Andreas? Two words. Compelling characters.

I am not going to sit here and pretend that some of the missions in this game aren't a bit silly. Robbing the military for example is just, well, not realistic. But while this is a questionable storytelling avenue to go down, there's no denying that the game has some very interesting characters.

From Big Smoke ordering one too many number 45s, Officer Tenpenny's harassment of Carl, to the borderline satire lines from OG Loc; this game is bursting at the seams with rich characters.

And then we have the personification of the inner-city gang politics that fuel most of the early game missions and violence. The San Andreas world truly is sculpted to raise some brows, but and undeniable part of that is it's characters, even if they do play up some stereotypes from time to time.

There you have it! My pick for 6 video games that every imaginative writer should try (or at the very least look into). They can serve as catalysts for your own creative vision by providing new fuel into the fire of your creative imagination. That and they are also super fun to play, which is an added bonus. I hope this helped!

Got a game you think should have made the list? Got more to add? Join the conversation over on our Twitter page.


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