Video games that take place inside a computer
Fred Bednarski
United States
North Carolina
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Games allow us to explore digital worlds of fantasy, sci-fi and any other setting the developers can think of, but what's happening inside those devices exactly?

Different games tried to show us the world inside our machines. Showing the life of the bits of data and artificial AIs. Let's see how game designers see the inside of our computers.

Feel free to add any game with a setting that takes place inside a computer/console or any other electronic device. Feel free to add games from any device that comes to your mind, it doesn't matter if it is a current console, a 8bit computer of yesteryear, or even a mobile device.

Let's try to make a definitive list of games that aim to explain the "magic" inside machine.


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1. Video Game: Darwinia [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:2369]
Video Game: Darwinia
Fred Bednarski
United States
North Carolina
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A game representing the life of AI polygons fighting a virus that infected their network of 1980s computers.
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2. Video Game: Multiwinia: Survival of the Flattest [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Video Game: Multiwinia: Survival of the Flattest
Fred Bednarski
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A sequel to Dawinia, where after fighting off a virus in their world, Dawrinians evolved and fight against each other.
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3. Video Game: Mega Man Battle Network [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:3715]
Video Game: Mega Man Battle Network
Fred Bednarski
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A surprisingly interesting take on RPG, where you play not only a character in the "real world", but also, his internet avatar AI. The avatar can access visit not only the computer devices and internet, but also many mundane electronic devices in the "real" world.

The series has a very interesting battle system that combines CCG mechanics (collection and deck-building) with dexterity and tactics.

I can recommend the whole series wholeheartedly.
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4. Video Game: Supaplex [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:4668]
Video Game: Supaplex
Fred Bednarski
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North Carolina
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Supaplex is a puzzle game reminiscent of Boulder Dash. While it takes place inside a computer, it does not tell a great story of what's happening inside.
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5. Video Game: Retrovirus [Average Rating:6.15 Unranked]
Video Game: Retrovirus
Fred Bednarski
United States
North Carolina
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Retrovirus is a six degrees of freedom shooter which sends players into the depths of a computer on a search and destroy mission against an invasive virus. You play an anti-virus type app, represented by a spaceship-like vessel. While the design is very geometric and almost Tron-like, the viruses look organic and out of place.
The game is reminiscent of the Descent PC game.
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6. Video Game: TRON [Average Rating:5.30 Overall Rank:6999]
Video Game: TRON
A. Power
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The quintessential "inside the computer" game. 4 mini games that flesh out life inside the computer.
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7. Video Game: Little Computer People [Average Rating:8.33 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: Power Hits
A. Power
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Well, this game doesn't show us much about what makes our computers tick, but if you had a C64 back in the 80s, you got to see the little guy that resides in our machine.
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8. Video Game: Enter The Matrix [Average Rating:5.43 Overall Rank:7084]
Video Game: Enter The Matrix
A. Power
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This might be a stretch, but Enter the Matrix was the first game that allowed players to enter the virtual world that resembles the real world from "The Matrix" films. The game parallels events from the movies, but has it's own story line with bit characters.
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9. Video Game: Kabuki Quantum Fighter [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:5043]
Video Game: Kabuki Quantum Fighter
From the instruction booklet:

The defense computer protecting the entire planet has been invaded by a constantly-mutating, evolving virus. Only one man, Colonel Scott O'Connor, has the courage to risk his life in an untested miracle weapon. Converted to raw data and transported into the circuits of the computer, Col. Scott's molecular structure is transformed by the untested Image Transfer System. Into the circuits of the giant computer steps an unlikely hero - the Quantum Fighter!


It's a pretty cool action game, similar to Ninja Gaiden or Batman: The Video Game.
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10. Video Game: Rez [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:451]
Video Game: Rez
From Wikipedia:

The game is set in futuristic computer "supernetwork" called the K-project where much of the data flow is controlled by an AI named Eden. Eden has become overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge gathered on the network, causing her to doubt her existence and enter a shutdown sequence, which would create catastrophic problems everywhere should she be able to complete this. The player plays the protagonist hacker, logging into the K-project system to reboot Eden while destroying any viruses or firewalls that happen to inhibit progress, and analyzing other sub-areas of the network to gain access to Eden's location.
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11. Video Game: ReBoot [Average Rating:1.00 Unranked]
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Aaron Tubb
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Fuquay Varina
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A PSX game based on the old TV show about early CGI characters saving their world inside a computer from bad guys and stuff.
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12. Video Game: Child of Eden [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:3692]
Video Game: Child of Eden
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Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to. –Alfred A. Montapert
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These computers on our desks are turning into portals to other realms of existence…realms that will one day be preferred to earth. –Edward Castronova
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The sequel to Rez.
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13. Video Game: A Virus Named TOM [Average Rating:5.72 Overall Rank:6447]
Video Game: A Virus Named TOM
Haven't played it but you are supposed to be a virus infecting some machines.
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14. Video Game: Tron 2.0 [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:1650]
Video Game: Tron 2.0
Luke Stirling
Norway
Trondheim
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Predating the film sequel by a number of years, I quite enjoyed this one. The gameplay is pretty standard FPS fare of the era, though the heavy involvement of Bruce Boxleitner bumped it up an extra notch or two for me.
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15. Video Game: Nitronic Rush [Average Rating:6.38 Unranked]
Video Game: Nitronic Rush
Aaron Tubb
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Fuquay Varina
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The game takes place in the virtual "Nitronic City", and the player drives an "Antivirus" vehicle. The aesthetic is very Tron-like and the plot of the story mode is that a virus takes over the city, which you need to eliminate.
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16. Video Game: Thomas Was Alone [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:733]
Video Game: Thomas Was Alone
Luke Stirling
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Ostensibly a puzzle platformer, the real star of the game is the story. That of the first AI exploring the world (i.e. computer) around them.
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