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After finishing The Witcher 2, with its epic and dark tale full of twists, betrayals, and monsters — human and otherwise — I decided I needed a break from games with strong stories. I love story-focused games, as any longtime reader will know, but such games require something of an investment every time I play. I need to remind myself of everything that’s happened so far, and let myself get absorbed by the events unfolding before me. This makes it hard to play such games in short spurts. Normally, when I only have a little time to play, I favor roguelikes or other games with shorter play sessions, but even these involve stories, although they are written in large part by the player. The time investment may be smaller, but the investment in the unfolding story is not.

So I decided to seek out games without any stories. I’ve played some games like this before, but tired of them before I was finished. I think that’s because I tried to play them the way I play story-heavy games: all at once, to the exclusion of most other games, until I’ve finished. This time, I thought I’d tackle a few of these games simultaneously, returning to them occasionally when I’m in the mood, alongside whatever else I decide to play. I’ve written about three of them here.