7 Best Theatre Performances In Video Games

Oscar Wilde once said that life imitates art far more than art imitates life. Unfortunately, no one prepared Oscar for the possibility of someone adding even more layers to that. Immersion can take many forms, but one of the most creative is when that art becomes a performance within another art medium, like a play or a musical unfolding right in front of you in a game.

From karaoke and rhythm minigames to full-blown stage performances, video game writers and developers have pushed the boundaries of entertainment to give games art within itself. Take a look at the very best times a video game has put on a theatre performance for, and sometimes involving, the player on the other side of the screen.

7/7 Final Fantasy 9

I Want To Be Your Canary is a tale as old in Final Fantasy 9 as it is in real life: a noble falls in love with a humble and kind peasant. Within the game, the play itself is loved dearly among both members of royalty and the poorer citizens themselves. The story has its own place in not just Final Fantasy 9, but in the hearts of fans everywhere.

The play casts references to early Final Fantasy games, as well as real-life works of literature. The poetic language structure flows well and makes the performance that much more beautiful to watch.

6/7 Final Fantasy 7

The Event Square in Final Fantasy 7 is a ridiculously fun time. You’re taken to the Gold Saucer to watch, and participate in, a theatrical performance during a date. The play is reminiscent of the very first Final Fantasy, with its vague king and mischievous wizardry. A daring adventurer is sought, and the main character turns out to be you, as Cloud.

There aren’t any real game-ending consequences to messing up your lines or the play, but it does yield some hilarious results. You may want to save before you hit up the venue and try it out a few times for maximum entertainment.

5/7 The Witcher 3

The Play’s The Thing is an endearing part of the main questline that you find in Novigrad in The Witcher 3. If you’re looking for Dandelion, you’ll have to go through the long process of getting yourself and the local theatre troupe ready for the stage first. The play is meant to call out a disguised ally in the crowd, and tells a tale of a shapeshifter in love.

During the Halloween-adjacent Harfest, Mae is tasked with helping her hometown besties put on a witchy play about the town’s spooky legend of a local curse. It’s cute while still being ominous, and whether or not you can pull it off without messing everything up will affect a bit of your future.

2/7 Paper Mario: The Origami King

The Big Sho’ Theater in Paper Mario: The Origami King is a delightful mixture of performance and gameplay. Mario and friends show up to the Big Sho’ and take their seats, expecting the show of a lifetime.

And it is, it only includes Mario fighting for his life with both his combat and crowd work skills. The Big Sho’ isn’t the only presentation you’re treated to in the Paper Mario series, but it’s the most theatric and dramatic one you can get. Paper Mario is one heck of a performer.

1/7 Yakuza: Like A Dragon

The entire Yakuza series is a wild performance all on its own, but Yakuza 7: Like A Dragon opens with a stunning theatrical performance involving two on-stage actors in front of an audience. The short story follows a killer confronted by a blade-wielding daughter out for revenge and closure, and an emotionally moving ending.

Directly following the play, you’re treated to a second cutscene that shows just as much drama and action unfolding backstage as there was in the two-minute show. Acting is tough.

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