It’s time to celebrate narrative games with LudoNarraCon! I love puzzlers and truly enjoy a good action/adventure. But if you don’t have a decent narrative to hold it all together, my attention wanes, and you’re lucky if I finish it at all. However, the narrative shouldn’t be a genre all on its own. As a long-time reviewer, “narrative” is at its best when it is an integral part of the game. It is like a main character; no matter how flimsy, there will always be a focal point. The princess is in another castle? Okay, let’s go! Space invaders are slowly and systematically approaching the Earth? Sure, gimme the pew-pew! None of this is new. Every developer and publisher knows narrative is key. This is why I also love any convention (online or in-person) that highlights the power of narrative gameplay!
LudoNarraCon is happening right now (May 4 to May 8). It’s a digital online convention presented by the indie game label Fellow Traveller and hosted on Steam. There are a bunch of games offering demos and play-throughs, with many developers presenting online chats and forums all for the love of narrative across many genres of gameplay. The convention is free to all Steam users worldwide, with content linked from the LudoNarraCon page or directly from individual Steam store pages. If you’re a game developer, this is a great opportunity to interact with others as well as publishers and reviewers. If you’re looking for new indie games to support, this is an awesome place to start here.
Previously on LudoNarraCon
For a quick refresher on narrative games and previous LudoNarraCon goodness, have a quick read of my previous article from 2021. Two years ago, we were still in the midst of COVID lockdowns, and many of us were craving solid storytelling to distract us from… well, everything else. Some of my highlights from LudoNarraCon 2021 included
- Genesis Noir (review)
- Cozy Grove (review)
- Chicory (review)
- Beacon Pines (review)
- Spirit Farer
- Unpacking (review)
Time for a New Narrative
LudoNarraCon 2023 has 43 exhibiting games, and I must say I am impressed with the diverse range of games on offer. There are a couple of sequels mixed in with a whole lot of originality. Not every game is my cup of tea (nor will it be yours), but I love the variety of games ensuring that there is something to appeal to anyone. Here are the ones to catch my initial interest:
- Mythwrecked – Greek mythology is my Achilles’ Heel, and I can’t resist checking this one out.
- The Pale Beyond – survival story to chill you to your bones
- Roadwarden – text-based adventure with pixel graphics to belie the intense story
- Beacon Pines – introduced at LudoNarraCon 2021 and back with more development
- Kistune: The Journey of Adashino – 3D adventure game with some Spirited Away vibes
Not a lot of kid-friendly games but a few we can work with as a family. Just as important is noting how many games are suitable for me as a gamer, not just as a mom. Hey, geek parents are still geeks.
Seriously though, I know there are a lot of big games released this month, and time is of the essence. However, it’s good to mix it up sometimes and find a new love amongst the fresh offerings. Everyone has a story inside them, waiting to be told. Many indie developers only have a whisper of a chance to do so. Keep your ear out for them. Check out LudoNarracon. Find a new fave story. And then share it around.