10 Video Games About Photography

It turns out video game studios cater to all audiences—even photographers.

There were a surprising number of games throughout the past few decades that featured friendly shutterbugs, so we made the tough decision to choose our 10 favourites.

1) Polaroid Pete (1992)

Platform: PC

For the love of God, what are you smiling about, Polaroid Pete?

This 1992 game was developed by a Japanese studio called Tomcat System and was originally called Gekibo: Gekisha Boy. Gamers play David Goldman, a normal boy from Los Angeles who goes a little maniac and depressed when his parents suddenly die in a plane crash.

Taking pity upon the boy, the principal of his photography school says he’ll allow David to graduate if David can take 8 great photos in 8 different places. The beast he unleashes will give you nightmares.

2) Pokémon Snap (1999)

Platform: Nintendo 64

Perhaps the greatest photography game ever made

I loved Pokémon Snap and played this first-person game religiously. Todd Snapp is challenged by Professor Oak to become the best Pokémon photographer in the world. In each level, players sit on a rail car and proceed through the level while finding the perfect moment to capture those elusive Pokémon.

The game got highly competitve in multiplayer, and also awarded points on composition such as how well the Pokémon filled the frame and whether or not they were captured while holding a special pose. One of the rare games completely focused on actual photography.

3) Fatal Frame (2001-2015)

Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Wii U

Ghost photography – certainly an odd fetish

In this long-running series, players use a Camera Obscura to capture images of spirits while exploring haunted ruins. They “battle” the ghosts with their photography skills, and can use different types of film as ammunition. Certain lenses can even improve your character’s ability to fight.

Amazingly this series is still going on. The fifth version of the game, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water will be released on the 30th of October in Europe for the Wii U, just in case anyone is interested in time for some Halloween shenanigans.

4) Dead Rising (2006)

Platform: Xbox 360

Frank West is one beefy photojournalist

In Dead Rising, gamers play photojournalist Frank West, who somehow got stuck in a shopping mall in Colorado during the zombie apocolypse. Frank has to fight his way out through hoardes of zombies and uncover the truth with his camera.

Frank gets scored on five genres: horror (graphic zombies), outtakes (funny zombies), erotica (sexy zombies), drama (people crying because of zombies), and brutality (violence caused involving zombies).

Amazingly this game has two sequels: Dead Rising 2 (2010) and Dead Rising 3 (2013).

5) Spiderman 3 (2007)

Platform: Wii, Playstation 3, Xbox 360

In this mission Spiderman has to photograph a fake Spiderman…

Peter Parker is a photojournalist, so it’s only natural that in a Spiderman game he should have missions to take photos right?

When Spiderman isn’t beating up villains he is swinging across town on a number of interesting missions for his editor. Not even drones can reach the viewpoints that Spidey can.

6) Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008)

Platform: Playstation 3

Keep that solid snake in your pants

The Metal Gear Solid series has a history of weird easter eggs. In Guns of the Patriots, each time Snake defeats a member of the Beauty and the Beast unit they end up removing their armour and walking around in a raunchy cat costume. Then the screen goes white and Snake and the Beauty get teleported to white room akin to heaven. If you equip Snake’s digital camera at this point, the Beauty will pose in very suggestive ways. We chose the most tame one to screencap.

7) Warco (2011)

Platform: PC

And they say games don’t prepare you for real life

After watching his two sons play Far Cry 2, Australian journalist Tony Maniaty came up with an idea to make a video game that could train photojournalists before they entered a warzone. He proposed the idea to Defiant Development and filmmaker Robert Connolly and Warco was born.

Players take the role of photojournalist Jesse DeMarco, and must get enough footage to make a story without being killed. Too real.

8) Grand Theft Auto V (2013)

Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC(2015)

The scene right before this was quite NSFW

There is a cheeky side story in GTA V where as Franklin, you can join a paparazzi photographer named Beverly in his tireless search for dirt in Hollywood.

9) Life Is Strange (2015)

Platform: PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4

Ah, the beloved photo snob

Life Is Strange is an innovative five-part series that features Maxine Caulfield, a photography student who can rewind time. Players can take photos throughout the game, and interactive characters will react to them like a teacher who gets upset at Max’s in-class Polaroid selfie. Four parts have been completed so far, and the fifth and final part of the series is soon due for release.

10) Camera Sim 3D (2015+?)

Platform: PC, iOS, Android

When CGI surpasses real life

Camera Sim 3D is an upcoming DSLR simulator that is designed to help people learn about their cameras…in virtual reality.

Instead of in real life – with an actual camera.

I know, it’s all very strange. The game doesn’t have much of a backstory and hasn’t been published yet even though it was planned for a mid-2014 release. However, it is entirely focused on photography, as gamers will be able to change lenses, learn ISO settings, use tripods, and even save their potentially award-winning images.