Wouter Groeneveld’s post inspired my own list of 25 games I consider the best. A common theme is novel mechanics and excellent soundtracks.
I’ve had it on my site’s todo for years now to make a “favorites” section to do rankings like this and easily change the rank of each entry. This list will have to do for now.
- Portal 2. I love everything about this game. The abandoned underground lab setting, the music, the voice acting, and the idea of combustible lemons.
- Age of Empires II. I have fond memories staying up past 0400 to play multiplayer over dialup. The updated Definitive Edition is great and the Spanish are still my go-to civ.
- Age of Mythology. Ensemble Studios threw every idea at the wall with this one and it turned out great. Sometimes it’s hard to pick between AoM and AoE2 for me. We don’t talk about AoE3.
- The Plan. I used to wonder what it’s like to be a fly, and this game cleared it up for me.
- Elite: Dangerous. Frontier Development’s troubled spaceship simulator. I bought it in 2014 thinking it would hold me over until Scam Citizen came out (lol). Sagittarius A* is a place you can visit in this game, along with other real locations in the galaxy. See also: /tags/elite.
- Factorio. Programming but the bugs are extremely aggressive and you can make people mad by setting up a “storage facility” to store all your outputs in one convenient place.
- BioShock. The story was great, and to this day I still think about living underwater a few times a month. Underwater bases were my favorite thing to build when I played Minecraft.
- FTL: Faster Than Light. A cozy little topdown spaceship game where you can open the airlocks and vent both friend and foe into the unforgiving vacuum of space.
- Titanfall. What a GAME. Incredibly fluid movement and calling down mechs from the sky never gets old. I had my Very Serious Button set up as my eject button.
- Deep Rock Galactic. Rock and stone! Best team shooter, better than Left 4 Dead 2 even.
- Bastion. Supergiant’s first game. It has an incredible soundtrack by Darren Korb and I spent not a small amount of time trying to emulate the narrator’s voice.
- World of Goo. Ominously weird constructor puzzle game by Tomorrow Corporation. They recently announced a sequel!
- Little Inferno. Another Tomorrow Corporation game. This one’s about burning stuff and feelings.
- Jazzpunk. I don’t know how to explain this game but there’s an alternate universe within made entirely of pizza.
- Papers, Please. Glory to Arstotzka!
- Broforce. A co-op sidescroller with all the 80s macho men (and new ones).
- Insaniquarium Deluxe. Feed fish, fight aliens. I found out Lauren also had an obsession with this game growing up. I really want a remake, there’s a Steam version that sorely needs updating for modern screens.
- Dota 2. I have a love/hate relationship with this game after ten years of playing, which I think is normal for MOBAs.
- Alan Wake. A writer wakes up in his own horror story. The flashlight invuln removal mechanic is pretty neat. A sequel was released recently and it’s on my list.
- Prison Architect. Honestly all I remember is setting up a gigantic prison that was 90% shower and programming a 23/7 showering schedule for my lucky inmates.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I haven’t played the previous ones and I don’t want to hear about them, this is the only Elder Scrolls I know. If you have a problem with it, take it up with the Thieves’ Guild.
- No Man’s Sky. The best turnaround story for a game and studio I’m aware of. It had an incredibly rocky launch and Hello Games has released free(!) content updates for the past seven years.
- Far: Changing Tides. I love running around frantically inside a vessel tending to the machinery that keeps it moving. The music is great too.
- Eve Online. I’m not as into it as I used to be, but I still think about the massive space battles I was a part of and the friends I met. One of them passed away from depression recently and we held a memorial service in-game last night. Over 200 characters showed up and shared stories and fireworks. Feels weird typing this into a list item but that doesn’t make it less meaningful.
- Limbo. Another ominously weird platformer game. Interesting mechanics and I love the art style.
I expect this list to change over time, that’s just how things work around here. But instead of updating it I’ll either post a new one or finally build that favorites section. Who knows.
Send me your list of favorite games!