Codex Gamicus

Non-linear video games
Basic Information

The opposite of linear video games, non-linear video games are video games with a free-form system of progression. This includes sandbox and open-world games. A non-linear game or path is when a game lets the player affect where they go next. The path branches out, like a tree. Players have a choice of where to go, or what to do, next. Non-linear games are favoured in certain genres like role-playing video games.

List of non-linear games[]

Popular non-linear games[]

Early non-linear games[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Miami Vice (1986). (Translation)
  2. 005 flyer
  3. 005. “You first face cops in the "maze" segment, where you must hightail your keister into a building. Usually, you start out pretty close to an available edifice, so these mazey bits are really more of a hub where you pick either the "forklift" or "ice skate" building to tackle first.”
  4. Non-linear video games at Allgame via the Wayback Machine
  5. Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits - NDS - Review. GameZone (April 9, 2007). Retrieved on 2011-04-08
  6. Konami Arcade Classics: Well, at least it's classic. IGN (January 7, 2000). Retrieved on 2011-04-08
  7. Mark J. P. Wolf (2008), The video game explosion: a history from PONG to Playstation and beyond, ABC-CLIO, p. 100, ISBN 0-313-33868-X,, retrieved 2011-04-10 
  8. Mega Zone video game. Killer List of Videogames. Retrieved on 2010-07-14
  9. 9.0 9.1 Brooks, Evan (September 1988). "The Politics of War". Computer Gaming World (51): 12–13, 34, 48–49. "Both games come from Japan (Koei Corporation) and deal with the unification of countries during a feudal era and both games offer the sophisticated strategy player an opportunity to balance economic, diplomatic, and military decisions during a formative period of a foreign nation." 
  10. Hardcore Gaming 101 – Blog: Dark Age of JRPGs (7): Panorama Toh ぱのらま島 – PC-88 (1983). Hardcore Gaming 101 (2013-06-02). Retrieved on 2016-07-23
  11. John Szczepaniak (February 2011). Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken. Retro Gamer. Retrieved on 2011-03-16 (Reprinted at John Szczepaniak. Retro Gamer 85. Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved on 2011-03-16)
  12. TX-1 at Museum of the Game
  13. TX-1 flyer
  14. TX-1 manual
  15. "TX-1" (in en). Computer and Video Games: 34. April 1984. 
  16. The Battle-Road at Museum of the Game
  17. John Szczepaniak. Retro Japanese Computers: Gaming's Final Frontier. Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved on 2011-03-16 Reprinted from "Retro Japanese Computers: Gaming's Final Frontier", Retro Gamer (67), 2009 
  18. Courageous Perseus, Giant Bomb
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Harris, John (September 26, 2007). Game Design Essentials: 20 Open World Games. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2008-07-25
  20. Gingahyōryū Vifam at MobyGames
  21. IGN India discusses game design: Combat in open world games (2 November 2015).
  22. John Szczepaniak (2016), The Untold History Of Japanese Game Developers, Volume 2, pages 38-49
  23. 1982-1987 - The Birth of Japanese RPGs, re-told in 15 Games.
  24. Szczepaniak, John (2015). The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers. 2. p. 498. "Baraduke has a lot of iconic sci-fi elements, including from the Alien films. It's also a rather fun and intense free-roaming 2D shmup" 
  25. Szczepaniak, John (2014). The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers. 1. SMG Szczepaniak. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-9929260-3-8. "Riglas: Tamashii no Kaiki – large free roaming RPG exclusive to Japanese computers, worth checking out" 
  26. リグラス -魂の回帰-for PC-8801 (1985), YouTube
  27. Star Luster. Virtual Console. Nintendo. Retrieved on 2011-05-08 (Translation)
  28. Szczepaniak, John (2015). The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers. 2. pp. 506 & 982. "technically impressive real-time first-person 3D space shoot-em-up (imagine Elite but without vector graphics); with intense combat and a large free-roaming map containing enemy bases and refuelling stations, players need to plan their attacks strategically." 
  29. 15 Most Influential Games of All Time: The Legend of Zelda. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2010-01-24
  30. Brian Gazza. Outrun. Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved on 2011-03-17
  31. Darius at Museum of the Game
  32. Kurt Kalata. Darius. Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved on 2011-01-10
  33. Takeshi no Chousenjou, Giant Bomb
  34. Jeremy Parish, Famicom 25th, Part 17: Live from The Nippon edition,, August 1, 2008
  35. Kurt Kalata and William Cain, Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest (1988), Castlevania Dungeon, accessed 2011-02-27
  36. NES Games Begging For A Remake, IGN
  37. Gaming's most important evolutions, GamesRadar
  38. John Szczepaniak, War of the Dead, Hardcore Gaming 101, 15 January 2011