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The best games by or about Native Americans

Indigenous peoples have existed on-screen in video games since the earliest days of the medium, but trying to find games created by Native Americans or that offer a respectful, researched, and nuanced portrayal, is exceptionally difficult. Any steam or console search is instead filled with non-indigenous developers giving their takes on Native characters and stories, often with disastrous results.

For Native American Heritage Month, I searched, vetted, and played games in order to find those that tried to get the representation right, and put them together in one easy-to-find list. Some of these games are by Indigenous developers, while others made seeking out and incorporating feedback on characters and themes a priority. Here are the six best games by or about Native Americans.

Recommended reading:

Never Alone

Never Alone
70%
E10
Platforms
Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 3, Mac, Android, iOS, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre
Platform, Puzzle, Adventure, Indie
Developer
Upper One Games
Publisher
E-Line Media
Release
November 18, 2014
Never Alone is an indie platformer by Upper One Games, an indigenous-owned developer and publisher, and uses gaming to tell a story passed down by the Iñupiaq people of Alaska. The beautiful 2D art follows Nuna, a young girl who befriends an arctic fox, and their quest to find the source of the blizzards that are threatening their village. It’s narrated in Iñupiaq with subtitles, and you can unlock Cultural Insights, short videos that dive into the history of things in the game, including arctic foxes as companions, and the Bola, a traditional hunting tool that features prominently in the game. Never Alone is beautiful, culturally relevant, and a delightful experience.
Never Alone - Gamescom Trailer (Official)

DOOM

DOOM
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Shooter
Developer
id Software, Nerve Software, LLC
Publisher
Bethesda Softworks
Release
July 26, 2019
Yes, that Doom. One of the most legendary video games of all time, and the brainchild of one of the godfathers of the first-person shooter genre, John Romero. Doom was designed to be a timeless story, not occurring with any sense of when — just existing. It’s an unusual idea in an industry obsessed with timelines and framing, but very common in the storytelling and traditions of many indigenous cultures, including the Yaqui, Cherokee, and Mexican heritage of Romero. The fact that Doom was one of the progenitors of first-person shooters, and has endured for decades since release, spawning sequels, a board game, novels, and a movie, makes it an easy inclusion for this list. 
DOOM (Classic) - Let's Play (FULL GAME)

The Raven and the Light

The Raven and the Light
Platforms
Mac, PC (Microsoft Windows)
Genre
Puzzle, Adventure, Indie
Developer
Mark Basedow
Release
November 01, 2015
The Raven and the Light is a very small indie horror game by Mark Basedow. It’s rough around the edges, but it does a nice job with atmospheric horror and surrealism. What makes it stand out is the setting, as it takes place in a Canadian Indigenous Residential School. For those unfamiliar, thousands of indigenous children in the U.S. and Canada were forcibly removed from their parents and put into (typically Catholic) boarding schools. There they faced sexual abuse, starvation, disease, and the attempted eradication of their culture. To this day mass graves of indigenous children are still being discovered at these sites. The Raven and the Light addresses this through found letters, and the haunting use of iconography. While the background of the creator isn’t clear, the way this game directly confronts the horror of Residential Schools years before it became mainstream news is worth celebrating.
The Raven and the Light - Teaser Trailer

Prey

Prey
75%
M
Platforms
Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows), Xbox 360, Mac, Legacy Cellphone
Genre
Shooter
Developer
Human Head Studios
Publisher
2K Games, SkyZone Entertainment, Spike, Aspyr Media, icculus.org
Release
July 11, 2006
It might seem odd to single out Prey from the Xbox 360 for being a true-to-life depiction of a modern-day Native American. After all, it’s a sci-fi game that primarily takes place in space, involving aliens, spiritual powers, and the ghost of a bird. It also wasn’t created by primarily Indigenous developers. But it stands out for its excellent protagonist Tommy, a modern-day member of the Cherokee tribe. He’s not a caricature, but rather a fleshed-out individual with a complex relationship with his heritage. A lot of that is owed to Michael Greyeyes, a Cree Plains actor and director who voiced Tommy in Prey. His insight shaped the character and thematic elements of the game. The result is an excellent sci-fi first-person shooter with the best contemporary Native American lead in all of gaming.
Prey - Gameplay Trailer (Official)

When Rivers Were Trails

When Rivers Were Trails
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac
Genre
Point-and-click, Adventure
Developer
Indian Land Tenure Foundation, Michigan State University's GEL Lab
Publisher
Indian Land Tenure Foundation, Michigan State University's GEL Lab
Release
February 20, 2019
When Rivers were Trails is a throwback to the adventure games of the past. Set in the late 19th century, you play as a member of a tribe that has been displaced from your ancestral home in Minnesota, and forced to relocate to California. You select a direction to travel, and stumble upon various scenarios while managing your supply of food, medicine, and well-being. Some scenes have you dodging “Indian Agents”, participating in hunting and fishing minigames, and interacting with other First Peoples on the journey. It has a beautiful art style, gorgeous music, and enough player choice to make multiple playthroughs distinct. Historical facts presented between scenes are equal parts fascinating and infuriating, and the full package captures both the grief of losing one’s home, and the resilience of those displaced. Over thirty Indigenous artists, writers, and musicians contributed to When Rivers were Trails, and the project was directed by Elizabeth LaPensée,  of Anishinaabe and Métis heritage.

Assassin's Creed III

Assassin's Creed III
73%
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U
Genre
Strategy, Adventure
Developer
Ubisoft Montreal
Release
October 30, 2012
Assassin’s Creed III served as the endpoint for the first chapter of the Assassin’s Creed trilogy. The Revolutionary Era America setting is historically significant, but the slow pace and swap from grand pieces of ancient European architecture to the climbing of trees and cabins in colonial America is divisive among series fans. However, the care taken with crafting an Indigenous protagonist is undeniable. Most of the game is played as Ratonhnhaké:ton (or Conner, his adopted English name), a mixed Mohawk and English Assassin hunting the Templar that slaughtered his people and burned down his village. While Ubisoft Montreal is a Canadian developer, they worked closely with the Kahnawà:ke Mohawk an indigenous consultant, to create an authentic and respectful representation of a Native American. Ratonhnhaké:ton was portrayed by Noah Watts, a member of the Crow tribe, and is an outstanding portrayal of a character grappling with a mixed-race Indigenous identity.
Assassin's Creed III - Connor Story Trailer (Official)
Justin Koreis

Justin is a freelance writer with a lifelong love of video games and technology. He loves writing about games, especially where video games and culture intersect. Justin was born in rural Montana, and is a proud Blackfeet descendent. He lives in Portland, is a giant Seahawks and Mariners fan, and loves the Pacific Northwest. His favorite video game are Breath of the Wild, Mega Man X, Halo, and Sea of Thieves.

Best gaming laptop deals: Alienware, Razer, Asus and more
An Alienware m16 gaming laptop in use on a desk, playing Baldur's Gate III.

There are a lot of excellent gaming laptops on the market if you're looking to pick something up, and pretty much all the big brands have started getting into the game. If you haven't bought a gaming laptop in a few years, then you'll be amazed at how good modern gaming laptops are, with some of the best gaming laptops being thin, lightweight, and yet still relatively powerful. While they may not fully compete with the best gaming desktops, they can come pretty close, and most modern gaming laptops can handle the best PC games, especially if you're willing to make some graphical compromises.

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As a brand, Alienware has been around for decades, and it makes some of the highest-end gear on the market, and that includes the best gaming laptops, gaming PCs, headsets, and even gaming chairs. In effect, it's very similar to Apple in that it is a premium brand of premium products, which also means that it can sometimes cost and arm and a leg to grab an Alienware product. Luckily, there are a lot of great deals floating around, whether from Dell directly or other retailers like Amazon and Best Buy. As such, we've collected some of our favorite Alienware deals below.

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While you could always build a gaming PC from scratch, that can take a lot of time and effort, especially for those who don't really have a lot of tech-savvy and don't want to fuss around with costly parts. Luckily, there are a lot of excellent pre-built gaming PCs on the market that you can check out, especially since many of them have a lot of discounts and sales going on. That's why we've collected some of our favorite desktop computer deals and put them below, with many of these, bar the more entry-level ones without some compromises, being able to play the best PC games on the market.

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