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3 Video Games With Wisdom We Can Learn From

Updated: Mar 11

Three intimidating people standing in the shadows.



One of the biggest industries in the world today is the gaming industry. Probably more than ever before, gaming has become not only used for entertainment purposes, but also as a way to make a nice profit even if you don't make video games for a living. With so many video games out there, much content can be created simply by playing them and recording your gameplay.

However, there are still a few video games out there, known or unknown to the general public, that can also offer deeper meanings and explore deeper themes of humanity, the universe, and so forth; games that can even be enlightening in a sense. Games with depth compared to other fictional works.

Although I am in no way a gamer, I do enjoy watching videos of video games. This is not necessarily because I don't want to play them myself, but because I am not as interested in playing games like I used to as a kid. I enjoy laying on my bed and seeing the gameplay pass through my eyes, hearing commentary, and investing my energies on Philosocom instead.

As a philosopher, I do enjoy exploring the deeper meanings of video games, and those which usually have them the most are usually more esoteric, in a sense that they are not well known like mainstream games such as Fortnite and Counter-Strike (which are horribly shallow, along with many other games).

Here are a few games I have watched and which have helped me in my philosophical endeavors (Massive spoilers for said games are included):

The Silent Hill games have revolutionized the horror genre, similarly to how Earthbound/Mother revolutionized the JRPG genre. In other words, no longer are you, the player, fighting scary monsters that are scary for their own sake; the monsters you encounter, along with the world you find yourself trapped in, are in fact your own personal hell, in the form of your repressed subconscious, or at least of the character you control.

James Sunderland is the protagonist of the second game in the series; a confused and suicidal office clerk who wants to find out the whereabouts of his dead wife, Mary, after he received a letter from her, inviting him to Silent Hill's hotel, where they visited once on a romantic vacation.

As Sunderland descends into madness, he realizes that he in fact killed her. Accepting this fact, he fights the final boss of the game, a monstrous version of Mary, and kills her, thus ending his escape from the truth, and instead, accepts it, as his wife's own murderer.

Silent Hill 2 is about accepting the disturbing, painful truths some of us may deny due to many reasons; from pride to fear to immaturity. Should we embrace our faults or at least recognize them, we can become more open, honest beings, thus giving ourselves a chance to move on and live a better life.

Repression, after all, has its own consequences. Consider reflecting on the things you've done, and redeem yourself through good actions, and by avoiding the very things that might've made you a bad person.

2. LISA: The Painful RPG (The Long Term Effects)

A game intended for adults, it covers grim themes such as trauma, addiction, existential despair and insanity. After the world has lost all womankind due to an unknown event simply called "The White Flash", it has fallen into anarchy after there was no hope for humankind to survive. In addition, drug-addicted body-horrors called "Joy Mutants" have begun to appear due to a pill simply called "Joy" that helps people feel nothing (thus eradicating their suffering with each dose).

Despite all of this, Brad Armstrong, whose class in the game is literally "Nobody", discovers a baby girl in the wasteland, and decides to take care of her while he tries to hide her from being discovered. His prime motive to do so is his belief that "she is my second chance", referring to the suicide of his sister whom he failed to prevent. Nonetheless, Buddy, the only known female, is kidnapped for the sake of the human race to repopulate once more.

In the end, Brad, whose class is now "Failure", fails to convince Buddy to come with him, becoming himself a joy mutant. Buddy tried to escape from Brad because she too wanted to cooperate with the intentions of her kidnappers to reproduce.

And so the sequel begins after Brad had killed every chance of Buddy's will to cooperate with the world she now hates. A heavy game indeed, but what I think we all should learn from it, is the fact that we should not put our own desires at a higher priority than those of others all the time, because the world is interconnected, similarly to what happened in the real world with the COVID-19 lockdown.

One man's mistake can influence the whole world, even if they are not in a position of authority, and as such we should remember that the result of our actions can often have a bigger impact than we might currently imagine they have.

And indeed, the name of that game, LISA, is named after Lisa Armstrong, who killed herself because of the abuse she recieved from her father, Marty Armstrong. Although his presence is small, he is known to be the overeaching antagonist of the entire LISA franchise. All because of his abusive actions.

This also teaches us the importance of not abusing people, especially our children. After all abuse can turn them into human monsters who lack remorse and empathy.

3. Suikoden IV (Life and Punishment)

The Suikoden series are probably one of the most underrated video game series out there, even though most of them contain interesting plots to follow, mostly of political nature but also of emotional nature as well. Suikoden IV is the only main Suikoden game I've played, and as a kid it was extremely immersive for me. However, I'd like to talk about one of the game's most controversial topics, which is the main character -- mostly a silent protagonist that follows orders even when he's in control.

Nonetheless, that nameless hero, whose canonical name is Lazlo, possesses one of the more philosophical magic powers in the franchise -- a rune on his hand that is called the Rune of Punishment; a power of which when used, consumes the life of its user more and more, until they are dead, and then proceeds to find another handler to haunt for the reminder of their days. It is a parasitic entity that, once chooses its master, drains their lives with each use of their power. It is but an exchange. For either bad or good, its destructive use is forever a personal sacrifice, like with leading a life of serenity.

Lazlo received this double-edged curse during a normal assignment as a marine soldier, when his ship was attacked by pirates. This raises the fear that can be obtained when pondering about the uncertainty of life. No matter what you do, even the most mundane of tasks could have a permanent, incurable effect on your condition as a human being.

You could be walking down the street one moment, at peace with your thoughts, and in the next moment find yourself injured in a car accident or in a hit-and-run case. Arguably, nothing is certain, but we should also consider the following insight: some of us receive punishment or verdicts we do not deserve at all. Therefore, we are forever the "fools" to hands of chaos and the vague possibilities it has in store.

Likewise, Lazlo did not deserve to have the Rune of Punishment, given that he did not do anything sinful that required him to deserve it by a force such as Karma. He was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. Some may claim that it is common feature of real life as well.

Lazlo/Razro is a silent, relatively passive hero who is generally a good person who managed his paramilitary faction like he was told to. The order we create in our minds can at any moment collapse into chaos, and isn't necessarily part of the World Beyond the Mind.

The question is, are we ready enough to embrace the uncontrollable and the unfair, against which we are technically too weak?

Are we ready to try and understand the long term effects of our and others' actions?

Are we ready to accept the fact that we are not completely good people -- in the name of either good, truth, or both?

Thank you for reading thus far. If you enjoyed this article, consider sharing it.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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