Games To Play If You Like David Cronenberg Films

Canadian film director David Cronenberg has a long and illustrious career in modern cinema. His science fiction and horror pictures have been influential for many years of filmmaking, and have been the subject of much commercial and critical success.

With strange masterpieces like Videodrome, and blockbusters like Jason X under his belt, his mind is clearly one pop culture is interested in. And with his new film, Crimes of the Future just announced, it is the perfect time to delve into the world (and adjacent of worlds) of the visionary auteur. These entries explore themes and aesthetics that Cronenberg chooses to focus on in a majority of his works, and it executes them with as much passion and precision as the director himself does.

7 Mind Scanners

Perhaps it's because Cronenberg himself has a film named Scanners, but this title seems like an obvious entry on this list. Self-described as a retro-futurist science fiction game with arcade-like gameplay, Mind Scanners takes place in a dystopian society with a techno-fascist government. You play as a Mind Scanner, molding the unkempt minds of the "The Structure's" citizens, for better or for worst.

The game's look is a big part of the piece, feeling almost '80s in nature, and players surely won't forget the art style anytime soon. The themes involving technology, free will, and conspiracy evoke Cronenberg's earlier works like Scanners and Videodrome.

6 Wrought Flesh

This one is for fans of Cronenberg's more body-horror-heavy stuff. Wrought Flesh went viral on TikTok, as developer Naryana Walters would regularly post updates and tutorials as to how he created and implemented assets for his game, which he made all by himself.

The short shooter features a bio-punk world where body parts can be changed, modified, and replaced to change stats, weapons, and play style. Slightly grotesque and slightly beautiful, you shoot your way through strange insectoid aliens, changing your body and in turn your weapons as you play.

5 Disco Elysium

Expansive, nuanced, and pointed, Disco Elysium is one of the more unique contemporary titles out there. Boasting major critical acclaim, there is hardly a topic that Disco Elysium doesn't cover. Labor ethics, romance, communism, cargo trading, racial politics, this game does it all, but most importantly does it all well.

The smooth and nuanced world-building is something that this game has in common with Cronenberg's later, subtler works, and is something everyone can appreciate, Cronenberg fan or not. It also does not hurt that its protagonist is deeply flawed like many in Cronenberg's films.

4 I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream

Adapted from Harlan Ellison's famous short story of the same name, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream is a glimpse into a future where the world has ended and decayed into something worse than hell. Playing as the last few members of the human race, players are forced to undergo physical and psychological torture at the hands of an omnipotent computer named AM.

This piece is perfect for Cronenberg fans as it is an adaption of a famous literary work of science-fiction, the director himself has successfully done the same, and because it was made at the peak of his notoriety. And of course, the piece explores technology, and the merging, analogous connection between living beings and pieces of technology.

3 BioShock Series

One of the most famous and commercially successful game series out there, BioShock is a science fiction nightmare Cronenberg fans are sure to enjoy. While Bioshock is decidedly Lovecraftian, and Cronenberg's work is decidedly not, there is still a lot of overlap when it comes to content and themes.

The intersection of biology and technology, combined with how that intersection affects the psyche is really the bread and butter of a lot of Cronenberg's work, and makes for a fascinating playable world in BioShock.

2 Dead Space Series

Returning now to something more based on aesthetics, Dead Space is a body horror fan's dream (and also probably their nightmare). Dead Space is at the top of the pyramid when it comes to bio, gory body horror, as well as horrifying atmosphere.

Fans of Scanners, and even The Fly (the one with Goldblum) will marvel (and run away in terror) at some of the creatures that EA cooked up for players in 2008. While high-scale, off-earth settings aren't really Cronenberg's cup of tea, the construction of that space and the atmosphere heavy environment really strike some similarities to his filmography.

1 Lisa: The Painful

Depraved, raw, and funny in a violent, macabre sort of way. Are we describing Austin Jorgensen's indie RPG? Or an early David Cronenberg movie? Well, why not both? The farthest in form and aesthetic from Cronenberg's visual world, Lisa and its smaller related games have something that resonates with the spirit of Cronenberg's world: the identity of an outcast.

At times the game is repugnant, in poor taste, and overall just "too much," but that's what gives it its heart. All these have been said about the visionary director's pieces, and by very famous people (looking at you Coppola). The bravery, to be honest, contrarian (in a good way), and extremely talented lends itself to this game and to Cronenberg, making it a must-have entry on this list.

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