Uncomfortable Games

David Stark / Zarkonnen
12 Nov 2019, 6:23 p.m.

In 2019, I organised an exhibition for PlayBern Festival called "Spiele, die anecken". "Uncomfortable games" is a reasonable translation. I've reproduced the list of games and the descriptions as shown in the exhibition.


The aim of this exhibition is to demonstrate that games can go beyond entertainment and education. It contains uncomfortable games, ones that provoke thoughts and feelings, that don't fit nicely into boxes like winning and losing, that don't have a nice clear message.

Games are usually considered to be a form of entertainment. But as with other media like film and books, there are far more possibilities. This exhibition aims to show them to a wider audience.

Because these games are mostly small non-commercial projects, none of them has an official age rating. Parents are requested to accompany minors and use the yellow content information boxes to make informed decisions.

The Other

2019, Olga Brykina

Self-Harm, Suicide, Abuse

An art-game about the relationship with the Other that was heavily inspired by J.-P. Sartre. The Player can interact with 3 objects in the room... or not. Not doing anything is also a choice. The next state of the Other and the Room itself will depend on what the Player have done previously. The Other remembers everything and responds accordingly.


2017, Nathalie Lawhead

Abuse, Suicidal Ideation

A desktop labyrinth of vignettes, poetry, strange fever dream games, and broken digital spaces. It is a collection of life experiences that are largely a commentary on struggle, survival, and coping with the aftermath of surviving bad things.


2018 +, Heather Flowers

Body Horror, Self Harm Mention, Suicidal Ideation, Abuse Mention, Gender Dysphoria, Racially Charged Violence

A serial visual novel/mech brawler about four gay disasters beating up neonazis in giant robots made of meat. Get ready for the worst road trip of all time.

Horse Master

2015, Tom McHenry

Body Horror, Drug Use, Injury

Horse Master: The Game of Horse Mastery challenges players to grow, train, and nurture their own horse from birth in the hopes of earning the most coveted tenured position in the world: Horse Master.


2014, Llaura McGee

Abuse References

An interactive first-person narrative about Kaci & Ally, two queer women in a Glasgow punk band, which gives you a first hand experience of their destructive relationship.

Don't Make Love

2019, Maggese Games

Mild Sex References, Mild Death References

Assume the role of a praying mantis in a relationship. Constantly torn between their mutual love and the instinct to have sex – which could lead to the male mantis’s death – the couple are now on the verge of making a decision. Assume the role of either of the lovers, and try to keep their relationship in balance. Do your best to convey your feelings in a situation with no solution.

With Those We Love Alive

2014, Porpentine

Body Horror, Child Abuse

A weirdfem dark fantasy where you design artifacts for a skull empress. Sometimes you draw on yourself with marker. It's inspired by mob violence, trash struggle, C-PTSD, and child abuse. It's also inspired by friendship between trash girls.

Little Red Lie

2017, Will O'Neill

Sexual Themes, Drug Use, Financial Issues

A contemporary adventure game about debt, family, and the truth about honesty.

Can Androids Pray

2017, Xalavier Nelson Jr., Natalie Clayton, Priscilla Snow

Religious Themes, Suicide

A sitcom-length choice-based narrative experience about two angry femme mech pilots at the end of the world, and God.