Because I am constantly exploring the vast and fascinating world of video games, I tend to get asked what games do I recommend that aren’t the basic, middle-of-the-road shoot’em ups. First person fancy-graphics kill-frenzy frag extravaganzas. Regular folks value the magic and the potential of virtual worlds and celebratory interactions, but are at loss of where to head.
I step forth and scribble down some of my humble suggestions.
In a sort of inverted-chronological order, here are some tantalizing gaming experiences that challenge both heart and mind:
- Kentucky Route Zero, by Cardboard Computer (Linux, Mac, Windows) – A gorgeous visual experience and a poetic fantastic-realism setting. If David Lynch were to make a game, this would be it.
- The Long Dark, by Hinterland Games (Linux, Mac, Windows) – Set in the freezing Canadian wilderness, you’re up against ruthless mother nature. Even in sandbox mode (no narrative yet), it grabs you for the atmosphere, the (apparent) tranquility, and the challenge of making it one more day.
- Firewatch, by Campo Santo (Linux, Mac, PS4, Xbox One,Windows) – I played only enough of this game to know it’s a thrill to go through. You’ve taken a job in the middle of nowhere to evade your tough previous life and events start unfolding rapidly. A treat to the eye as well.
- Grow Home, by Ubisoft Reflections (Linux, PS4, Windows) – It’s hard not to fall in love with your cute robot character (B. U. D. or (Botanical Utility Droid)). The green thumb inside you will feel a tingle of joy every time one of the branches of the main alien plant grows wildly, under B. U. D.’s control. Being the first entity to catalogue all that rich alien flora and fauna is also any Darwin’s dream. It’s a joy to play and a joy to watch.
- World of Goo, (Linux, Mac, Windows, mobile) – this is an instant classic and a joy for all the family. Smart, cute, enticing, it’s a really good entry point for someone who isn’t used to play games, but willing to anyhow. The Lemmings of the 20th century.
I just realized this would be much cuter with actual screen shots. Don’t be lazy, follow the links.
In the next installment: Journey, Windowsill, “Papers, Please”, Tiny and Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers and more. Happy gaming!