(Contains Spoilers. Big Time) In 2016, no series has charmed its way into the hearts and minds of both critics and viewers alike: Yes I’m talking about Stranger Things. The adorable yet spot-on critical acceptance speech for Best Ensemble in a Drama at the SAG awards, even made us embrace and love the cast much more.
A lot has been told and written about the 1980s sci-fi and horror suburbia genre that influenced Stranger Things. There are some super cool mash-up videos showing how some shots in the series are direct hommages to “E.T” and many other flicks. Recently I read in an IGN piece that the Duffer Brothers, the creators of the series Matt and Ross mentioned how games like the “Silent Hill” franchise, “Dark Souls” and “The Last of Us” have influenced the smash hit in terms of imagery, atmosphere and setting. Even if Matt Duffer confirmed that “There’s a lot of different influences, and some of them I’m probably not even aware of. I just know that we do play and have always played a lot of video games so I feel like there is a lot of that seeped into the show.” (IGN, 26th August 2016).
During Superbowl 51, we had the chance of having a first glimpse on season two, and also finally a release date was set: Halloween 2017. So we’re talking eight solid bloody months of waiting. Short of watching the series again and again, and watching powerlessly and slightly confused as Calvin Klein turns Millie Bobby Brown in a supermodel, here are some games to play, that for Stranger Things aficionados.
1. Wolfenstein 2009.
You will probably ask yourself if I am out of my mind, but frankly, if you want to explore the “Upside Down” and kill as many Nazis as possible, and if this sounds like your particular brand of vodka you should definitely try to get your hands on this 2009 classic, playable on PC, PS3 and Xbox. As in all of the franchise games, you are William B.J. Blazkowicz, a walking testosterone tank / one-man-army and former American POW sent back to the “Reich” to investigate the powers of a mysterious amulet that let’s you travel into another dimension called ” The Veil”. Travelling into the veil or the empire of the “Schwarze Sonne” allows you to have tactical advantages over your opponents. If in that dimension you’ll find demagorgons and other monsters I’ll leave that up to you to discover.
2. Beyond: Two Souls
For many “connaisseurs” Beyond: Two Souls is one of the definitive games of the 2010s and best of it’s genre. Quantic Dreams’ hit is a graphic based game with a hollywood casting starring Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe. In the coming-of-age-story, you take on the role of Jodie, a very special young girl, who is quickly noticed for her superhuman skills. But this is where it get’s dodgy. Many “die-hard” fans of “Beyond: Two Souls” argue that Stranger Things is a massive rip-off. The similarities indeed are very staggering: Telekinetic Girl, Mother in catatonic state, nose bleeds after telekinetic efforts, raised by a mad scientist, both can travel to another dimension and in doing so create very unfortunate gates that risk to annihilate Hawkins, Indiana in Stranger Things, and pretty much everything else in Beyond: Two Souls. Since the Duffer Brothers remain so silent about Beyond: Two Souls, the question remains if it is a rip-off or not: Long story short, both are fine pieces of pop culture.
3. Life is Strange 2015.
Square Enix released the episode-based graphic adventure in 2015. The game evolves around a young telekinetic girl that with the help of photographs can travel back in time in order to prevent disasters. Nosebleeds are a must, a and the bullies from high school suburbia play a major role as well. The similarities are there and the overall set up and atmosphere is thrilling. The game strongpoints are both it’s set up like a series, episode-based fun a major “all right!” moment Available on every major platform.