Psychedelic Image of Vintage Video Game Controller

We Found the Trippiest Video Games—and They’re All Awesome

From tripping characters to Norse psychedelic mythology, these game developers definitely dosed on something

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DoubleBlind Mag is devoted to fair, rigorous reporting by leading experts and journalists in the field of psychedelics. Read more about our editorial process and fact-checking here.

The rapid evolution of technology has allowed us to experience video games in a way that we could only dream about just years ago. In the modern era, games have the power to tell stories, transport us to new realms, and let us interact and communicate with players around the world. Cutting-edge advancements in hardware, from the ultra-high-definition graphics enabled by powerful GPUs to realistic physics simulations, have helped to blur the lines between reality and virtuality further.

So, what do video games and psychedelics have in common? Well, it turns out: game developers are often inspired by trippy movies, art, and music for their medium—and have been as long as we can remember. While some of these psychedelic or trippy features are hidden as cleverly disguised easter eggs, others go as far as designing their entire game around ancient shamanic rituals. (Don’t worry, we’ll get to that later.) Some psychedelic games may even help you understand what it’s like to trip.

The Trippiest Video Games (Basically the Only Psychedelic Games Worth Playing)

So, what games should you play for a truly psychedelic experience? You might want to put down that PS5 and take off that VR headset because this list covers everything from avant-garde art disguised as a video game to Mario’s trippy journey getting Beatle-fied after some clever hacking. Grab your Game Genie, find a comfortable spot, and get ready to discover the trippiest video games we could find.

READ: The Trippiest Cartoons Over the Ages

Screen Grab of Beatles Adventure In Pepperland Video Game
Screenshot from The Beatles: Adventures in Pepperland

The Beatles: Adventures in Pepperland

While not technically available for purchase, this modded version of Super Mario Bros. 2 will have you seeing technicolor pixels thanks to some ingenious tinkering from an avid hacker. The Beatles: Adventures in Pepperland sends the Fab-4 on a psychedelic romp through the mushroom kingdom, complete with English bobbies and the menacing Suckophant to fight. 

Apart from the easy-to-follow gameplay that includes smashing your enemies with guitars and boxes of love, this side-scrolling adventure also features 8-bit renditions of classic Beatles tunes. Tracks like “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” and “Eleanor Rigby” are stripped down to their core, where they shine like Lucy in the sky as you pummel your way to the castle. 

This game may not be the trippiest on our list, but you can get high with a little help from your friends John, Paul, Ringo, and George, who are all featured in their full Sgt. Pepper’s costumes. Only you can help Admiral Fred and free Pepperland—are you up for the challenge? 

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GTA 5: Alien Invasion

Rockstar developers are notorious for hiding easter eggs, secret codes, and hilarious pop-culture references in their games, but this mission featured in Grand Theft Auto 5 is as trippy as it is completely random. During the course of GTA’s bloody storyline you play as one of three characters free to roam about the city’s vast open world, interacting with NPCs and making decisions that will affect the outcome of the game. 

While playing as Michael, you may come across a man in a busy plaza who appears to be harmlessly advocating for cannabis reform. After showing some hesitation towards signing his petition the man offers Michael a joint, boasting that he grows it himself. Once lit, the digital dope transforms Michael’s world; suddenly, the sunny day melts into a nightmarish hellscape featuring bloodthirsty pink aliens that attack you. After fending them off Michael is transported back to reality with the suspicious man nowhere to be found. 

At least the game’s developers had enough sense to warn us that while murder, robbery, and arson are all in a day’s work, taking something from a sketchy stranger you meet in Los Santos is NEVER a good idea.

Panoramical

An interactive experience that blends trippy music with even trippier visuals to create a uniquely immersive game that will have you wondering where the last three hours went. Each setting in Panoramical offers a different abstract environment, ranging from cityscapes to natural scenes, which players can distort in real-time. By adjusting sliders or using game controllers, players influence the visual elements, music, and overall atmosphere of the level, like if Picasso and Diplo made a game together. The gameplay is akin to being a conductor of an audiovisual symphony, where each movement and adjustment contributes to the progression of movement and sound. More meditative than monotonous, this trippy game is the perfect way to lose an afternoon.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – Agaric Communications

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is an action-adventure video game set in the Viking era. Players take on the role of Eivor, a Viking raider, as they lead their clan from the icy shores of Norway to a new home amongst the lush farmlands of ninth-century England. While the game isn’t exactly trippy, Norse mythology is featured throughout the story, providing a rich, immersive experience that blends historical events with legendary storytelling—and mushroom trips? 

As part of its gameplay, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla features moments where Eivor must ingest the mushrooms that are found throughout the game. These psychedelic trips are brimming with mysticisms and spiritual puzzles that you must solve, serving as a uniquely trippy gameplay mechanic that lets players engage with the psychedelic aspects of the Viking age. It’s a cool concept, considering the last time we tripped, we spent four hours staring out our faces in the mirror.

READ: The (Very) Best Movies to Watch on Shrooms

Screen Grab of LSD Dream Emulator Game Depicting 8-Bit Character Blob
Screenshot from LSD: Dream Emulator

LSD: Dream Emulator 

For psychedelic video games, it doesn’t get much more ‘on the nose’ than LSD: Dream Emulator. An exploration game that is more concerned with surrealism than objectives, players must explore different environments while interacting with bears, rabbits, and paintings that can change the setting and transport you to new worlds. Each level (or day) lasts ten minutes and follows the same irrationality and forgetfulness as the dreams we experience every night.

Japanese artist Osamu Sato developed the game’s original concept, which was released on Playstation in 1998. Sato hated the idea of games and wanted to use the console as a medium for creating contemporary art. With only a limited release in Japan alongside a soundtrack and a book, LSD quickly fell into obscurity until its re-release in 2010. The acid-house soundtrack, psychedelic visuals, and concept (or lack thereof) make it arguably the trippiest video game ever made. 

Rez Infinite

Have you ever wanted to float around a cosmic backdrop of geometrical orbs while battling massive shapeshifting enemies? In Rez Infinite, you play as a hacker who journeys into a malfunctioning AI system to discover the meaning of life. The gameplay and projectile hits sync with a techno soundtrack that vibrates your controllers (and chakras) to their core. Tetsuya Mizuguchi conceived the game in the mid-90s, drawing design inspiration from the popular European rave culture of the time. 

The synesthesia-inducing gameplay, raucous soundtrack, and updated VR compatibility have allowed the more recent re-release of Rez to carve out its unique niche as a wonderfully abstract and psychedelic addition to the classic’ rail shooter’ platform. 

Psychonauts 

This platform adventure game, developed by Double Fine Productions, follows the story of Razputin “Raz” Aquato, a young boy with psychic abilities who runs away from the circus to join a summer camp for children with psychic abilities. The gameplay revolves around players entering the minds of various characters to battle their inner demons, unlock hidden memories, and resolve their psychological issues, which—we admit— sounds heavy for a kid’s game.

Despite the game’s whimsical backdrop, the unique art style, engaging storyline, and innovative use of psychic abilities for its mechanics have earned it critical acclaim and a cult following. For fans of puzzle-based gaming, Psychonauts is wrapped in a rich narrative of humor, emotional depth, and originality that begs to be replayed.

Screen Grab of GTA V Depicting Man Next to Peyote Plant On Side Mission
Screenshot of Grand Theft Auto 5’s peyote side mission.

GTA 5: Peyote Side Missions

It’s no coincidence that the game that many consider “The Greatest Ever Made” would appear twice on our list. Rockstar is known for their insane attention to detail, and these side missions are about as surreal as it gets. Scattered across the game’s expansive map are 27 peyote plant locations. When a player’s character consumes one of these small, green plants, they experience vivid hallucinations where they are transformed into various animals, ranging from birds and dogs to more exotic creatures like dolphins and even an elusive Sasquatch. Players fly, hop, or swim around the city depending on the hallucination. They can enjoy the freedom of a life without bills–or the worry of a hangover. We know what you are thinking, and yes, you can fly around as a pigeon delivering wet greetings to the people below.

Ayahuasca: Kosmik Journey 

This VR-supported game is designed to simulate the psychedelic experience of an ayahuasca ceremony. The game is set deep in the jungles of the Amazon. Players are taken on a visually striking, interactive trip through vivid and surreal landscapes inspired by the visions and insights reported by users of the ayahuasca brew, a powerful and sacred plant medicine used by Indigenous peoples for centuries. The gameplay is crafted to mimic the profound, often transformative experiences that Ayahuasca can induce, blending rich, colorful visuals and audio effects to invoke a true ‘out of body’ experience. 

Providing a controlled, digital glimpse into the complex, symbolic, and often challenging realm of psychedelic thought is not only a fresh perspective on video games but also helps bridge the cultural gap between Western thought and sacred practices—plus, it’s an awesome game.

DoubleBlind Magazine does not encourage or condone any illegal activities, including but not limited to the use of illegal substances. We do not provide mental health, clinical, or medical services. We are not a substitute for medical, psychological, or psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, or advice. If you are in a crisis or if you or any other person may be in danger or experiencing a mental health emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency resources. If you are considering suicide, please call 988 to connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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