Few cult shows have had such a strong impact on popular culture as Twin Peaks. David Lynch’s memorable and puzzling TV series is certainly not for everyone, but those who kept watching until the end fell in love with its quirky characters, mysterious setting and eerie atmosphere. Now that the acclaimed series is coming back, those who never watched it are wondering what the fuss is all about. So was Twin Peaks that influential? Well, shows like Lost, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Killing (to name just a few) wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for David Lynch and Mark Frost’s masterpiece and believe it or not, the same goes for some games. Over the years, several video games have made references and nods to Twin Peaks (from Final Fantasy XI to the Day of the Tentacle,) but the titles below are those that were directly inspired by the show. As a way to honor one of my favorite TV shows of all time, here are some of the games that were inspired by the celebrated crime drama.
5. Life Is Strange
Released in the form of an episodic interactive drama, Life Is Strange is a graphic adventure that follows Maxine Caulfield, a photography student who has the ability to rewind time. Some of the themes Life Is Strange deals with include adolescence, nostalgia, memory and identity. Maybe this description doesn’t give the impression that Life Is Strange is that similar to Twin Peaks, but this graphic adventure is packed with references, from deer imagery to some overt car plates allusions. Definitely an acquired taste, but if you’re into Twin Peaks, Life Is Strange is a game that’s worth checking out.
4. Kentucky Route Zero
Not only was Lynch, one the directors that introduced me to surrealism, but also convinced me that this avant-garde movement can be enthralling when you do it right. That’s the same feeling I got when I played Kentucky Route Zero, simply one of the best point-and-click adventures ever made and definitely one of the weirdest ones. The story starts simple enough: you and your old dog are driving a delivery truck across the mysterious Zero route when suddenly the story starts taking weird turns and you witness some of the most bizarre and special moments that have ever graced a video game. The intriguing narrative, haunting atmosphere, unique characters and outstanding visual design make Kentucky Route Zero the best graphic adventure of the past few years.
3. Silent Hill
To a certain extent, Silent Hill combines elements from different books and TV shows, including the Mist, Jacob’s Ladder and of course, Twin Peaks. And the latter is the one that makes the strongest impact on Konami’s surreal and terrifying survival horror series. In the game, a man called Harry Mason is looking for his daughter after a car accident and he finds himself in an abandoned small town in the middle of nowhere. Soon enough, some monstrosities start roaming the streets, you start hallucinating and you need to explore some terrifying environments. Keep your eyes open for Twin Peaks references because there are more than a few.
2. Alan Wake
Alan is a writer who’s lost inspiration, so his wife takes him to a small city known as Bright Falls and that’s were the protagonist starts meeting some bizarre townsfolk. Some of the characters seem like they were taken from Twin Peaks, but that’s for you to discover if you haven’t played Remedy’s third-person survival horror game. Apart from the obvious winks and nods, both Alan Wake and Twin Peaks share thematic influences.
1. Deadly Premonition
All the games featured on this list make references to Twin Peaks, but Sweary’s Deadly Premonition seems like a lost episode of the TV show. Some call it imitation, others call it homage, but if you’re looking for something like Twin Peaks, you’ll be hard pressed to find something more similar that this game. What do I mean when I say similar? Well the characters are pretty much the same but with different names: there are dwarves who utter weird speech patterns, a policeman who cries during murder scenes, a woman who’s a copy of the Log Lady and the list goes on and on. Note that Deadly Premonition is usually considered one of the most polarizing games ever released, so if some of the reviews out there are to be believed, this might be one of your favorite games or a waste of your hard-earned money.
Others games that were considered but didn’t make it to the final version of this list include Virginia, Max Payne and, believe it or not, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.