Amanita Design’s Machinarium starts by throwing you into a big pile of trash. You must literally rebuild yourself in a dump before you can go any further, and when you do, there are few details given about your predicament and the world you inhabit. Mostly you are left alone to inspect every element of the robotic ecosystem around you, with just the occasional glimpse of a memory to spur you on.
Minimalist narratives are not new to gaming. Both old-school and modern games have made wonderful use of storytelling tactics that omit details in favor of creating a sense of ambiguity, leaving the rest up to the player’s interpretation.