Games with Uncommon Player Characters

I received a Twitter question asking what kinds of historical games are available that do not place the player-agent (the character the player plays as) in the traditional game role of a ruler, commander, or warrior. I began a list and then a number of community members added to it. So here is a partial list of some cool historical games that have more varied player-agents that the typical ruler or warrior. I’ve included descriptions verbatim from their host sites or Steam pages.

1979 Revolution: Black Friday . Steam page description: “1979 Revolution: Black Friday is a choice driven, narrative game that brings players into the brooding world of a nation on the verge of collapse. Play as Reza, an aspiring photojournalist, and make life and death decisions as you survive the gritty streets of Iran in the late 1970’s.” (1979 Revolution: Black Friday on Steam (

Attentat 1942 by Charles Games. Description from the game’s homepage: “Attentat 1942 is a unique narrative video game. It tells a story of Nazi occupation through the eyes of survivors. The game is built on personal memories, interactive comics, and authentic footage.You will speak to eyewitnesses, live their memories, and discover the untold story of your family.” (Attentat 1942 | A World War II game through the eyes of survivorsAttentat 1942 | A World War II game through the eyes of survivors)

Brukel. Steam page description: “A first-person exploration game based on the actual memories of a 92-year-old grandmother, told to players in her own voice. Take pictures of what remains of her abandoned childhood home to uncover the dark, traumatic events that she had to fight through as a teenage girl.” Brukel on Steam (

Unfolded: Camellia Tales. Steam page description: “In this hand-drawn 2D point-and-click adventure, you follow the journey of Herman, a boy who lived through the most tragic times in the history of Jeju Island, South Korea. Explore the beautiful wilderness of Jeju Island and experience the coming-of-age story of Herman and his friends.”

Help Will Come Tomorrow. Steam page description: “In an uninhabitable Siberian wilderness, in a wake of October Revolution, a group of passengers survives the mysterious catastrophe of the Trans-Siberian railway train. They must endure in a harsh ice-clad climate until rescue arrives. Facing many dangers, their own weaknesses and, above all, their own prejudice.” Save 70% on Help Will Come Tomorrow on Steam (

Herald. Steam page description: “Herald is a choice-driven adventure set on colonial tides. Board the HLV Herald and uncover its dark secrets in an intriguing tale about tyranny and servitude.” Herald: An Interactive Period Drama – Book I & II on Steam (

My Child Lebensborn. Steam page description: “《My Child Lebensborn》is a story driven nurture game based on real events. Play as the adoptive parent of Karin or Klaus, and experience the struggles they go through along them. Balance your time and resources wisely, while helping your child cope with effects of hatred.” (My Child Lebensborn on Steam (

A Plague Tale: Innocence. Steam page description : “Follow the grim tale of young Amicia and her little brother Hugo, in a heartrending journey through the darkest hours of history.” A Plague Tale: Innocence on Steam (

Svoboda 1945: Liberation, Charles Games’ most recent game. Steam page description: “The horrors of World War II are over, but peace never came to the Czech village of Svoboda. You were sent to investigate a decades-old feud. Who can you trust to explain what happened? How was your family involved? Talk to witnesses to uncover the troubled past in a game unlike any you ever played.” where the player agent again takes the role of a modern investigator learning about the past and their family’s role in it. (Svoboda 1945: Liberation on Steam (

Paintbucket’s Through the Darkest of Times. Game home page description: “Coordinate a resistance group of civilians in Nazi-era Berlin: fight for freedom, weaken the system and lead your group through the darkest of times. A historical resistance strategy game taking place in Berlin during the Third Reich. Made at Saftladen Berlin by PAINTBUCKET GAMES, published by HANDYGAMES.” (THROUGH THE DARKEST OF TIMES | Paintbucket Games)

Valiant Hearts. Steam page description: “Valiant Hearts : The Great War is the story of 4 crossed destinies and a broken love in a world torn apart. Dive into a 2D animated comic book adventure, mixing exploration, action and puzzles. Lost in the middle of the trenches, play as each of the 4 strangers, relive the War and help a young German … ” Valiant Hearts: The Great War on Steam (

We. The Revolution. Steam page description: “As a judge of the Revolutionary Tribunal, preside over complicated cases of ordinary citizens, dangerous criminals, and enemies of the revolution in revolutionary Paris. Make judgments, plot political intrigue, and try to not lose your own head! “We. The Revolution on Steam (

When Rivers Were Trails. Description on page: “When Rivers Were Trails is a 2D point-and-click adventure game in which Oregon Trail meets Where the Water Tastes Like Wine. An Anishinaabeg in the 1890’s is displaced from their traditional territory in Minnesota and heads west to California due to the impact of allotment acts on Indigenous communities, facing Indian Agents, meeting people from different nations, and hunting, fishing, and canoeing along the way as they balance their wellbeing.” When Rivers Were Trails by indianlandtenure (

That’s just some of the games available. Let me know if you’d like help finding more.

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