10 Best Photography Games – TheGamer

These games include photography in their gameplay, many with unique implementations.
Video games let you travel to different worlds to do all kinds of things – like killing monsters or shooting other players in a deathmatch. But some games allow a different kind of interaction with the world, encouraging you to look more closely at it, to capture it forever. No, I don't mean Pokemon, I mean photography. Not that you won't be photographing Pokemon…
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In-game photography is a regular feature these days, and many games allow you to share screenshots and video directly to social media, but some games take it further and build photography directly into their mechanics as a way to further immerse you in their worlds and reward your attention. But if you're an aspiring shutterbug, which ones are the best?
The original Pokemon Snap was a childhood classic for the N64 generation, and it was the first time that many people saw the Pokemon they loved rendered in full 3D. Of course, since it was on the N64, those 3D Pokemon looked a little… primitive sometimes. So when Nintendo revisited the concept for the Switch, they made the game bigger, better, and more beautiful than ever.
New Pokemon Snap is a full sequel to the original game, adding new features, new landscapes, and new Pokemon to photograph in goofy poses; and of course, the HD graphics are a huge upgrade.
It wasn't the most successful game of its time, but Beyond Good & Evil was a delight for those who were lucky enough to experience it. You play as Jade, a journalist who is called upon to expose a government conspiracy involving human trafficking, aliens, and the military.
It's a Zelda-style adventure for the most part, but the game's most interesting wrinkle is its photography system. Throughout the game, you're tasked with taking pictures of the local animals to earn money and other rewards; you'll also use your camera to take the photographs that will bring down the corrupt government. With a sequel on the way (allegedly), this hidden gem is worth revisiting.
Like Beyond Good & Evil, Umurangi Generation uses its photography mechanic to more subversive ends. It tasks you as a Maori courier living in a New Zealand that's on the edge of crisis. You take pictures to document the chaos, suffering, and joy that surrounds you.
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Its cel-shaded style ensures that you'll want to look at every corner of the world, while its usage of photography as a vehicle for storytelling and political commentary is thoughtful and innovative.
With Fatal Frame: Maiden Of Black Water finally making it off the Wii U, the time has never been better to get into this iconic horror series – and Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly is easily the peak of the franchise.
The mechanical masterstroke of these games is using a camera as a weapon. You're forced to look directly at the ghosts who are hunting you, since clearer and closer shots will do more damage. It's not a game for the faint of heart, but if you're after a hardcore horror experience, this game is for you.
Where most games use photography as a mechanic to encourage you to investigate new worlds and strange phenomena, Afrika has no time for that kind of nonsense.
Originally announced as a launch title for the PS3, Afrika is a straightforward photography game where you travel through… wait for it… Africa snapping photos of the wildlife. It's simple and meditative, but its attention to detail – both in the animals' animations and behavior, and in the amount of information around the cameras and lenses you can use – sets the game apart.
After Dontnod Entertainment's underrated first game, Remember Me, flopped, the studio went back to the drawing board and delivered a franchise-starter in Life Is Strange. Released in episodic chunks back in 2015, Life Is Strange follows Max, a photography student who discovers that she can rewind time.
It's fitting that Max is a photographer, since taking pictures lets you capture moments in time and fits the game's themes; and if you really lean into the idea and get all of the optional photographs in the game, you'll get a special achievement.
Have you ever taken a picture of a friend, only to discover that the photo is filled with glowing orbs? If you listen to science, that's just a trick of the light – but if you believe in the spirit world, these are ghosts.
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Phasmophobia is a multiplayer horror game that takes the experience of discovering orbs in a photo and makes it playable. You and your friends have several tools in your ghost-hunting arsenal, but photography is an important one; by taking pictures, you can earn in-game cash and complete objectives and challenges.
You'll notice that a lot of photography games ask you to take pictures of animals, or put you in the shoes of a journalist. The Good Life does these too, but since it's a game by the creator of Deadly Premonition, it does those things a little differently.
You play as Naomi, a journalist who's sent to the "happiest town in the world" to find out if it's really all that happy. In short order, you set about taking pictures during your investigation, posting them on social media to complete missions and earn cash… and then you discover that all of the townspeople turn into animals at night. Soon, you're turning into an animal with them. It carries a unique charm that you won't find anywhere else.
Bugsnax is blessed with an absolutely banging theme song by indie pop masters Kero Kero Bonito (even though it kind of spoils the whole game), but beneath that cutesy exterior lies a surprisingly solid adventure.
Bugsnax finds you on Snaktooth Island, tasked with trapping the titular creatures who are half-bug and half-snack. To do so, you'll need to gather information on their habits, and the way to do that is by taking pictures of them. It certainly puts the "bug" in "shutterbug."
Dead Rising's goofy, satirical take on the zombie genre hides some pretty thoughtful mechanical flourishes. One of these is its usage of photography.
As you progress through the game, you can snap photos of the zombies or fellow survivors to earn points, which you can then spend on different upgrades; you even get bonuses based on how you execute your shots and what the photos contain. Of course, in later games, this mechanic was updated to include an option where you take a selfie with a zombie, so perhaps the goofiness is part of it too.
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Leah Isobel is a writer, critic, musician, and actress based in California. Her work has appeared on the Singles Jukebox and Soap Ear Journal. She’s been playing video games since she was four years old, and has a particular fondness for RPGs, platformers, and adventure games. You can usually find her in a kitchen somewhere baking pies.