10 Video Games Based On Real Life Stories

Look, nobody can prove Chopin didn't give up his life for a load of JRPG stock characters.

war of mine
11 Bit Studios

One of video games' greatest strengths lies in their ability to offer escape from a life which for so many, regrettably, is less enjoyable than fiction. Imagination is allowed to run entirely unhinged as the dreams of designers goes digital, and we lucky folk, blessed to live at a time when such possibilities are open to us, are invited along for the ride.

Beyond the special sort of people who revel in the intricate, inexplicable mundanity of building and rather tediously maintaining factories and zoos with a mouse and keyboard rather than a hard hat and, er, whatever it is zookeepers wear (you know who you are), we often pick up a controller to expand our horizons, not replicate them. It's why so many people think Shenmue, as perfect a replication of the tedium of day-to-day as imaginable, is eye-wateringly dull.

But they're wrong. Real life - and the history of real life - is as intimately fascinating as any spacey shooty world thrown up by the AAA Corporation. You just need to know where to look.

Thankfully, these developers did - even if they did take a few liberties here and there.

10. Secret Files: Tunguska

war of mine
Deep Silver

What is it about Siberia which attracts adventure game scribes so much? Four years after Benoît Sokal took us to the far northern reaches of Russia in his misspelled magnum opus Syberia, adventure game designer Jörg Beilschmidt jetted us back via Novosibirsk in Secret Files: Tunguska, a game which had flown largely under the radar like a Soviet spy plane before its Switch re-release last year.

What starts out as a hunt for her suddenly vanished father soon evolves into an epic quest across the four corners of the, er, globe, as amateur detective Nina seeks to solve the century-old mystery of the Tunguska catastrophe, a gargantuan explosion which torched the area to a crisp.

It sounds like fanciful video game fare, but the Tunguska event actually happened. 2000 square kilometres of the Taiga forest were decimated in a moment of cosmic chaos, widely attributed by scientists to the air burst of a meteor - a sort of intergalactic grenade. Boffins estimated that the blast hit with an impact over one thousand times than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima - though the consequences to human life were nowhere near as catastrophic; luckily, there wasn't a single fatality.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know). He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.