15 games with their own simulated operating systems

If you’re a PC gamer, you probably spend a lot of time sitting at a desk with a mouse and keyboard, which the following games have been cleverly designed around. There are plenty of examples of interactive computers in games, whether you’re hacking into terminals in Fallout, reading emails in Deus Ex, or tapping turkeys in Doom 3. But in these examples, the game IS the game. computer, and he can make a unique game out of it. immersive experience.

Introversion software / Available now / (opens in a new tab)Become a hacker for hire, breaking into secure computer systems, stealing top secret data and reselling it to rival companies. There’s a certain lo-fi charm to the original visuals, but the Introversion approved (opens in a new tab) mod (pictured above) makes it much easier on modern eyes.

His history

Sam Barlow /Out Now/ (opens in a new tab) / (opens in a new tab)A unique detective adventure where you piece together the details of a crime by digging through a fragmented video archive. It’s surprisingly atmospheric, and everyone who plays it will take a different path through the story depending on the keywords they type.


Osmotic / Released now / (opens in a new tab) / (opens in a new tab)As a citizen spy for a dystopian government, you must dig into the lives of people suspected of crimes against the state. You uncover details about their relationships, history, and personality to profile them, which makes you increasingly uncomfortable and intrusive.

Emily is absent

Kyle Seeley /Out Now/ (opens in a new tab)This interactive story takes the form of an instant messaging program from the early 2000s, which is more than a little similar to AOL Instant Messenger. If you’ve ever been a confused, moody teenager who spent way too much time talking to strangers on AIM, you’ll get extra enjoyment out of it.


Introversion software / Available now / (opens in a new tab)Orchestrate a devastating global thermonuclear war from the safety of an underground bunker, sending orders through a sleek (opens in a new tab)-inspired interface. The sound of a woman crying as the planet is hopelessly destroyed by nuclear warheads is a particularly gruesome touch.

Hypnospace Outlaw

Jay Tholen / Q1 2018 / (opens in a new tab)The next game of (opens in a new tab) creator Jay Tholen is just as wonderfully weird. Set in a shadowy operating system that resembles a vaporwave Geocities, it sees you, a self-styled Hypnospace Enforcer, chasing down criminals on a dazzling, colorful cyber highway.


Misfits Attic /Out Now/ (opens in a new tab) / (opens in a new tab)This sci-fi roguelike sees you scavenge destroyed spaceships with remote-controlled drones. The command-line interface and lo-fi aesthetic give it a wonderfully tactile, retro-futuristic feel, and encountering an enemy in these strange, abandoned ships is always nerve-wracking.


Star Maid Games / Available Now / (opens in a new tab)Cibele is a partly autobiographical game about a relationship that develops between a 19-year-old girl and a man she meets in an online game. Apart from playing the game, a simple RPG, you can also dig into private files on the main character’s PC to get an idea of ​​their personality.


Andrew Morrish / Summer 2017 / (opens in a new tab)In this imaginative RPG, you use a fake operating system to control every aspect of your adventure. Enemies and traps are popups, you store your inventory in folders, and quests are emailed. It’s a clever take on the genre and I love the clean, colorful pixel art.

pony island

Daniel Mullins Games / Available Now / (opens in a new tab) / (opens in a new tab)A journey through the inner workings of a surreal arcade game called Pony Island that was apparently designed by the devil himself. Trapped in this digital limbo, you must repair the broken code and explore the depths of its encrypted software. Man, video games are weird.

Digital: a love story

Christine Love /Out Now/ (opens in a new tab)Set “five minutes into the future of 1988”, this imaginative visual novel tells the story of a couple’s online relationship and their quest to solve a mystery surrounding the deaths of several artificial intelligences. Interaction is limited, but the story and writing have been widely praised.


Team Fractal Alligator / Available Now / (opens in a new tab)In this hacking simulation, you use a command line interface to sneak into computer systems, snoop and generally cause computer mischief. There’s a story to follow involving a mysterious benefactor called Bit, who has some memorable surprises in store for you as you hack the planet.


Rebelephant /Out Now/ (opens in a new tab)This point-and-click mystery takes place entirely within a fictional operating system. You play as an MI7 agent who must hack into the computers of suspected cybercriminals. But the game also challenges the ethics of a government organization having so much power over people online.


Hexecutable / Out now / (opens in a new tab)According to the developers, Beglitched is a game about “the insecurity of our computers and ourselves”. In its vivid, pastel-colored computer world, where hacking is a magical art, you play as the famous Glitch Witch, who is described as “the net’s most high-end archmage”.


SUPERHOT Team / Available Now / (opens in a new tab) / (opens in a new tab)Although SUPERHOT is primarily a game of incredible Matrix-style gunfights in a sleek red-and-white digital void, it also comes with a cool meta-narrative where a friend sends you various versions of the game via retro DOS. stylish interface.

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