What is Prog Gaming?

“Welcome back, my friends
To the show that never ends”

Emerson, Lake and Palmer

For many, switching on a video game is no more than a source of quick entertainment. However, the evolution of games from the early days of 8-bit graphics and sound to the current world of rich, 3D environments, complete with orchestral scores, has paved the way for a respected form of art.

The umbrella term Progressive (or Prog) Gaming loosely covers tags such as exploration, atmospheric, immersive, adventure, story-rich, artistic, puzzles, walking simulator and indie, usually favoring non-violent games (although this is not always a prerequisite) where the focus is on something deeper; a yearning for experiencing a journey into the unknown.

The term was first coined by me and my good friend Chris Myhill, who share a love of all things Prog Rock. We saw many of the similar themes and ideals of this musical genre reflected in such games. What started out as a tongue-in-cheek method of describing them soon entered our own lexicon.

Latest posts

Return to the MYSTsterious island – part two

Myst (2021 remake) Continuing on from my previous blog, I can now give my thoughts on the recent Myst remake, following a (mostly) enjoyable playthrough. I completed the game over several days, sat at my trusty computer desk while occasionally gazing out at the rainy weather. A perfect setting for such a game. Myst is billed as the new definitive edition, built from the ground up with new visuals, soundContinue reading “Return to the MYSTsterious island – part two”

Return to the MYSTsterious island – part one

Myst This weekend sees the release of MYST, a from-the-ground-up remake of the original, iconic game released for early PC and Mac on September 24, 1993. As a die-hard fan of not only Myst – but the arguably superior Riven, along with its many sequels and thrilling tie-in novelizations – I am only too happy to have an excuse to talk about this extraordinary game on this week’s blog. AfterContinue reading “Return to the MYSTsterious island – part one”

“Let my armies be the rocks and the trees… and the birds in the sky.”

2019’s Vane, presented by Friend & Foe Games, is a short, artistically driven adventure that takes clear influences from games such as Journey and Ico. Serving as a prologue, the player is plunged into a dramatic lightning storm, experienced through the main character of a young child as the world around him is smashed to pieces, giving clues as to the story beyond. Following the chaotic introduction, the player takes the form of a bird…

And Now My (Fire)Watch Begins

Every once in a while, a game comes along that feels special – a game that manages, almost by accident, to transcend the genre and stumble upon the elusive achievement of being a milestone in popular culture. I believe that Campo Santo’s 2016 release Firewatch is one such game. No words or description can prepare you for the masterclass of musical and soundscape atmosphere, combined with an emotionally-engaging story…

The Days Have Gone Down… Into Shadow

This month our prog spotlight falls on Stela, a side-scrolling platformer released in March 2020 by SkyBox Labs. Stela is a stunningly artistic game that combines the exploration of cinematic landscapes, scenes and situations with ever-present dangers and fiendish puzzles at every turn. Way back in 2010, a highly regarded indie game called Limbo (eventually followed up by the even more richly-developed Inside) coined the term ‘trial and death’…

Can I Get A Witness?

The Witness is the brainchild of designer Jonathan Blow, who’s previous 2008 game ‘Braid’ is frequently touted as one of the greatest indie titles of all time. As the game starts, the player is placed without any clear instructions on an island, devoid of life and filled with mysterious buildings and objects, set beside natural beauty. In the distance looms a small mountain, shaped like an almost perfect…


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