Netflix offers users a library of popular shows and movies and in recent years, a plethora of quality, original programming. Coupling this with the ability to binge an entire season of the latest and greatest content, many viewers often find themselves caught up and left with nothing to satiate their hunger.
With the recent release of the second season of Stranger Things behind us, many fans are already clamouring for more. CGMagazine is here to aid those left with a Demogorgon sized hole in their hearts, with a list of games best suited for fans of the 80’s inspired sci-fi horror series.
Stranger Things is a show steeped in the 80s and references to even earlier works, including nods to the legendary Alien franchise. A game like Alien: Isolation is a must for those who want to relish and immerse themselves in the tense and atmospheric setting that is the Sevastopol, a giant commercial-grade Space station that also happens to be the hunting grounds for a lone Xenomorph. Like Stranger Things, Alien: Isolation does an impeccable job of recreating a faithful retro aesthetic: everything from the protruding CRT displays on the various computer screens throughout the ship, to the faded and gaudy ephemera strewn about the halls. The title transports the player to a far-flung future that only could have been imagined during the early 80s.
For the brave souls who couldn’t get enough of the Upside Down, the nightmarish parallel world within the town of Hawkins, The Evil Within 2may fit the bill. Set three years after the events of the original Evil Within, the series protagonist, Sebastian Castellanos embarks on a mission to find the whereabouts of his wife, whom until recently, was thought to be dead. The Evil Within 2 takes Sebastian to the sleepy little town of Union, which like Hawkins has been transformed into a horrible hellscape, rife with demons and otherworldly entities. Like the show, players will be able to travel back and forth from the seemingly mundane and every day to the hair-raising, and twisted environments present within the title.
One of the things that really makes Stranger Things special is the inclusion of interesting and often genuinely creepy monster designs prevalent throughout the series. From the relatively innocuous D’Artagnan, or Dart for short, to the shadowy Lovecraftian inspired creature seen by Will throughout the season. The Lovecraft love can’t be ignored, which is why fans of the series and especially the monsters, should check out the indie title Conarium. Which not only relies heavily on the works of H.P Lovecraft but it also utilises and plays on the concept of fear. The game opens with the quote: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” Which in turn sets the tone for the rest of the game. Set in a derelict research base in Antarctica, players assume the role of Frank Gilman. While disoriented and lost, players must traverse the lonely halls and cold corridors of the research station while facing off against hallucinations and episodes brought on by unknown cosmic horrors. Conarium is a title that is perfect for those who are morbidly curious about what it may feel like being in the Upside Down.
For many, the child stars of Stranger Things are what elevates the show from good to great. Those looking for a game that captures the feeling of commodore and childhood wonder as exemplary within Stranger Things can look no further than Earthbound. Kids with psychic abilities, mysterious alien invaders, questionable authoritative figures, can all be found wrapped up in a time capsule rife with retro Americana and injected into the ROM of the now cult-classic Super Nintendo title. Those unfamiliar with Earthbound, the JRPG title opens in the satiric and fictional town of Eagleland. The once idyllic and peaceful town is rocked to its core after a mysterious asteroid harbouring an alien threat invades. Players assume the role of Nes, a 13-year-old boy who also happens to have psychic powers and is seemingly able to find friends who like Eleven from Stranger Things are also gifted with psychic prowess. With the recent release of the Super Nintendo Classic, which ships with a copy of Earthbound, it is easier than ever for those interested in the game to check it out.
Games of the late 70s and early 80s—sans for maybe Arcade titles—were not very graphically intensive, this limitation, gave developers the opportunity to craft narrative-heavy titles, even games that were solely text-based adventures. Capturing the same old-school woodgrain aesthetic and fuzzy glow of 80s computer games, Untold Stories is a game that relies almost entirely on keyboard inputs and text-based directions. The title is structured in an episodic fashion, featuring four different and distinct chapters that tell bone-chillingly creepy stories, all set in various retro-inspired locations. The meat of the game is experienced through in-game terminals or monitors that look reminiscent of classic computers and even television sets of the 70s and 80s. Similar to Stranger Things, Stories Untold masterfully transports the viewer, in this case, the player to different locations that could easily be found in movies and pop culture of a bygone era. Taking a look a the opening sequence of Stories Untold, the title almost seems to pay homage to Stranger Things, as it shares many similar elements such as a strikingly similar intro tune, and even has a title card that feels like it belongs in the works of the Duffer Brothers.
Hopefully, this list will provide fans of Stranger Things some relief until the eventual release of season 3.