There are few mediums which manage to bring the fantastical sci-fi worlds we create to life better than video games do. They are often able to succeed where even the best science fiction films fail, putting us in the driver’s seat of a different universe and allowing us to explore it in greater depth than any movie could. There are some sci-fi video games which have left a permanent mark on our culture, bringing interesting and unique ideas to life and bequeathing a lasting legacy that gamers continue to enjoy to this day. Here are the best sci-fi games ever created.
According to Metacritic.com, the Valve classic Half-Life 2 has one of the highest critic and user ratings in video game history, being one of only a handful of titles to attain a near-perfect score. Set in a near-future Earth where a mysterious alien race has invaded, this bleak, thought-provoking and incredibly detailed world has spawned an entire subculture that lives on to this day, despite the game itself being 15 years old.
There are many moments in the Deus Ex franchise which completely redefined how we think about and play video games. The very first game pioneered cyberpunk and role-playing games at a time when there was hardly anything like it ever produced. This incredibly dark first game, set in a near-future United States where a mysterious virus has eroded global stability regularly tops the ‘Best Games of All Time’ list almost 20 years after its release.
According to SlotonlineCanada.com sci-fi makes up 22% of the preferred genre among Canadian gamers, with fantasy also proving a hit with 24% of gamers. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that a game which masterfully combines the two went onto be one of the highest-selling titles ever created. Mass Effect takes the conventional open-world sandbox game and amplifies it tenfold, giving the player an entire universe to explore that is as rich and fleshed-out as anything you’d find in Star Trek.
Sometimes a sci-fi idea is so unique and compelling that the setting attracts far more attention than the actual plot. Such is the case with the Bioshock series, set in the now world-famous underwater city of Rapture, an Art-Deco metropolis populated by genetically modified Objectivists. The world created is so compelling because it is built on the political ideologies of our current system, holding up an ugly mirror to our own society.
Delightfully simple, hilarious to play, and deeply touching. This no-nonsense puzzle game instantly became “one of the most influential games of its time” according to Breaking Canon. You play a faceless prisoner using a portal gun to navigate yourself through a vast underground complex, whilst negotiating your fate with a megalomaniac supercomputer. It’s a surprisingly emotional game which makes you question what it means to be human, as all good sci-fi does.
The sci-fi genre continues to have a wide-reaching cultural impact that extends well beyond the video game world. We look forward to seeing which game-changing titles we will be graced with in the future.