Five Titles This Black Video Game Guru Can’t Live Without

Evan Narcisse’s top picks for inspiration and entertainment.

Mother Jones; United Game Artists/Sega; Ubisoft; Supergiant Games; Insomniac Games

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Below are five video game recommendations from the journalist, comic-book writer, and video game narrative designer Evan Narcisse, with commentary in his own words. Read more about Narcisse and his worldview in Jamal Michel’s Mother Jones profile, “One Man’s Mission to Make Video Games a Little Less White.” 


United Game Artists/Sega

Rez

United Game Artists (2002)
In this musical “rail shooter,” a hacker infiltrates a dysfunctional AI: “Throws deep existential questions at the player while immersing them in a thumping kaleidoscope experience inspired by raves and synesthesia.”


Starbreeze Studios/505 Games

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Starbreeze Studios (2013)
Siblings Naiee and Naia set out to save their sick father by collecting water from the Tree of Life: “A short little fairytale gem that perfectly demonstrates the expressive power that pressing a button can yield.”


Ubisoft

Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry

Ubisoft (2014)
A formerly enslaved African pirate joins Maroon freedom fighters to battle slavers in 1730s Saint-Domingue (Hispaniola): “This one really resonates with me deeply because it uses Black diasporic history and characters speaking the Kreyòl dialect I heard growing up to show the injustice that sparked the Haitian Revolution.”


Supergiant Games

Hades

Supergiant Games (2020)
Zagreus tries to bail on Hades and make it to Mt. Olympus: “This modern-day masterpiece starts off punishingly hard but cleverly uses its deep charms to keep players hooked on trying to help the snarky prince of the underworld escape his father’s realm.”


Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Insomniac Games (2020)
“Yes, it’s a big franchise release featuring a young spider-hero trying to stop an evil megacorp from setting up shop in Harlem. But I approached my work on it as a love letter to my teenage self—trying to find his place in a city being changed by big corporate interests.”

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