Computer/video games with philosophical underpinnings?

I just finished Planescape: Torment for the first time (a decade late, I know) and I was absolutely blown away by its storytelling and dialogue.

Are there other games in its league? Games that at least ATTEMPT to venture into the philosophical instead of simply offering up Yet Another Final Boss Hell-Bent on Destroying the World for No Reason… or at the very least, offer excellent stories?

I thought the next logical thing to try would be the Baldur’s Gate series, but the dialogue and quests in them seem positively amateurish next to Torment. Pity, really, because I used to hold them in such high regard.

I’m also reminded of Kreia from Knights of the Old Republic 2, one of those rare pseudo-villains who actually offer intelligent commentary instead of just going “Now you die! Mwhahahahahahahahaha.”

What else is out there?

You’ll like The Witcher. I’m replaying it as we speak.
It’s a crapsack fantasy world, set in a kind of pre-Steampunk era : there are no machines yet, but already civlization and urban developpment are infringing on the fantasy. The humans are prejudiced against dwarves, elves and other magical beings who tread the line between ghetto coexistence and guerilla warfare in order not to be hunted down and slaughtered.

The hero is a kind of mutated monsterslayer, but thanks to the march of civilization, monsters are fewer and farther between than they used to be… or so people think, because now it turns out men (and elves, and dwarves) are their own monsters. The number of absolutely abject people you get to meet is staggering - and if like me you’re a bit of a misanthrope, you’ll love it.
Throughout the game you get to make all sorts of bad vs. worse decisions (there are no self-evident “good” solutions) which turn out to have deep impact further down the story, and seemingly innocuous choices can turn out to have catastrophic repercussions.
Also, you get to swing swords Hollywood movie style :]

Really great, underrated game.

The Metal Gear Solid games, especially “Sons of Liberty.”

Waaaay more than a stealth/action game…underneath the surface there’s a whole damn treatise on how humans perceive reality, the flaws of artificial intelligence, and the ethics of following orders. The message probably went over the heads of most of the people who played it, but someone who’s more mature and educated will be able to appreciate it.


The setting is heavily inspired by Ayn Rand’s books Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and her overall philosophy.

The character names are largely taken from the books. The guy who started and ruled Rapture has the name of Andrew Ryan (And Ryan is an anagram of Ayn Rand). Ryan’s main antagonists in the history of Rapture are Frank Fontaine (Fountainhead) and Atlas (Atlas Shrugged).

And that’s just the beginning.

I just started replaying the enhanced (+ adult content) version, so I’ll go ahead and second the Witcher.

I’d also like to point out that although there is a lot of hollywood style moves in the combat, much of it is actually historically accurate. The devs actually sought the help of people who studied medieval longsword combat.

It’s the game I always point to in game forums when people say that putting historically accurate techniques into the game/movie would be boring. Hells no! And the Witcher proves it.