Photography and gaming don’t often go hand-in-hand, nor is it a connection we’d even fathom right off the bat. But then, why would we? After all, it’s rare you’ll even find a game that incorporates photography into its structure, meaning shutter-warriors, both new and old, are given the rough end of the stick, without a flagship to adhere to.
That being said, a fair few developers have gone out of their way to add photography into the mix—if only to serve as a mini-game between main story arcs. And on that note, we’ll venture into the best of the best on the current market. So, if you love capturing a crystal clear image with a quality camera out in the real world, then you’ll definitely enjoy doing the same in these five digitalized utopias.
Granted, you won’t get the same amount of flashy features with a disposable camera than you would with a DSLR. Though, if the setting is right and the mood is on point, then that shouldn’t really matter. A picture is a picture, and as far as Firewatch goes, panoramic views pretty much come with the territory, meaning, disposable camera or DLSR—you’re going to snag a great shot, period.
Firewatch has you filling the boots of Henry, a rogue husband with a hunger for a break out in the wild. After taking the posting as a firewatcher in an isolated nature reserve, you’re left to your own devices. With nothing but a camera, a radio, and a map of the area, you’re given three months to explore the fantastical region and make it your own. And with that, of course, comes plenty of golden opportunities to snap some magical photographs of the surrounding vistas.
4. 11:11 Memories Retold
11:11 Memories Retold isn’t the longest game by any means, but it does pack one heck of an emotional punch—right in the heartstrings. As two playable characters, one being a Canadian photographer, you must trudge through the trenches of World War I and document the spoils of war. Complimented by a unique art style and a bittersweet narrative, the indie game sprawls to life as a memorable experience that no photography student should turn a blind eye to.
Of course, when you’re not playing as the photographer, you’re running the line as a German engineer. Playing both sides of the field, you’re made to learn of the trials and tribulations of each faction. The photography aspect is, well, just another way of hurling a few punches at you to make you feel bad. Still, it does a swell job of it, which gives us more the reason to sing its praises.
3. Marvel’s Spider-Man
Although you won’t be able to bag a few hundred dollars from The Daily Bugle for pictures of Spider-Man, you will be able to grab a couple of sweet shots for your PlayStation home screen. Thanks to the intricate palette of features that Marvel’s Spider-Man employs, you too can become a photographer. Perhaps not on the same page as Parker himself—but somewhere in the same library, for sure.
New York City and superheroes often go hand-in-hand, and for good reason. Whether it’s a sky-high monument or a stone bridge in Central Park, nearly everything compliments the camera when in front of the lens. Having the ability to snap it all at the touch of a button bodes incredibly well with shutterbugs and, well, actual bugs.
2. Photography Simulator
From the creators of House Flipper comes Photography Simulator, an indie title that puts a harsh focus on nature and all its outstanding beauty. For the first time ever, you’ll be able to feel the rush for every time you release the shutter. Without having to leave your own home, you’ll be able to transport yourself to worlds unknown, where every subject beckons to be canvased.
Although a little ways off yet, it is still worth keeping Photography Simulator in the scope. After all, it’s not very often we get the privilege of seeing a video game of such elegance grace our screens. Therefore, if you’re even the slightest bit interested in capturing breath-taking images out in the wild, then you’ll definitely want to leave some room out for this masterclass in motion.
1. Life is Strange
Forget photography for a moment. Or, at least forget the part that involves actually capturing an image. Instead, draw yourself back to that masterclass you took, and reminisce over all the lessons that explained the ins and outs of the subject. If that somehow manages to ignite a joyous twinge in your neck, then you’ll probably find happiness elsewhere, with Life is Strange, perhaps.
Square Enix’s episodic tale follows Max, a wannabe photography student with a supernatural power that lets her control time. Over the course of the whimsical journey, you’ll have to escort her over the speed bumps as she irons out the kinks with her new otherworldly ability. And yes, that does involve teaching her how to become a better photography student. Because, you know—priorities.
So, what’s your take? Do you agree with our top five? Are there any photography games we should know about? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.