Some Cool Links

Video Games I Like

I'm not a super hardcore gamer, but I've probably played more games than most people you know. I only picked the hobby up at 16 - way too late to develop any sort of intuitive control for any kind of controller or joystick, but games absolutely fascinate me as an art form and a method of storytelling. I keep my eye on the IGF and play my way through the finalists and honourable mentions that look interesting every year, and pick my way through offerings on an regularish basis as well - although I've been playing less in recent years, so these recs are going to be a bit dated. Besides desktop games, I also love my trusty old 3DS :)

In games, I most value artistic beauty (I'm particular about art style though and tend to dislike pixel graphics), well written narrative/dialogue, and, well, being fun to play. I don't enjoy PVP games, and most 1st and 3rd person POV games make me overwhelmed and nauseous.

For those reasons, I suspect my game recs would work well for lots of people as a list of games that you can play together with your girlfriend ;)

Games are PC unless otherwise marked.

10/10/10 Games

Here are the games I'd rate 10/10/10 on visuals/text/enjoyment.

Spiritfarer (2020)

A gentle, cozy management game about processing death. You had conversations with loved ones while maintaining your adorable little boat. It was beautiful in every way, and had lovely music as well to boot. Made me cry.

A Short Hike (2019)

You play as an anthropomorphic bird who is hanging out at a ridiculously gorgeous Canadian national park. Explore, talk to people, do some little quests, and find out how to get to the top of the mountain. Flying down from the mountaintop was a sublime experience that had my hair standing on end.

Wilmot's Warehouse (2017)

A game for people who enjoy organizing things. A super addictive, abstract puzzle game, with a 2 player mode that will destroy relationships. Squares with various patterns and backgrounds come into your warehouse, and you need to figure out how to organize them so you can fetch them later on. The challenge is trying to create a robust, scalable system so you can find everything easily again later on, and then resisting the urge to refactor it every in-game weekend.

West of Loathing (2017)

A game that had me wheezing. You play as a stick figure trying to figure out how to make your way in the western frontier - will you sling beans, oil snakes, or punch cows? The game is incredibly generous in terms of the amount of content, and also had a few unexpected moments of subtle horror. And also a few completely expected moments where they tried to gross me out, and very much succeeded. I will have nightmares about the spittoons.

Caesar 3 (1998)

Some of my earliest memories are of sitting on my dad's lap and watching him play this game. Somehow, in the 20 years since it was released, no city builder game has managed to actually exceed it in terms of quality - it holds up ridiculously well.

Playing it today, I'd recommend installing the mod Julius (just modernizing - the original wasn't meant to be played on a screen bigger than like 800x600px for example lmao) or Augustus (modernizing, QoL improvements, and some fun bonus gameplay mods).

The Witness (2016)

A quiet, intricate, and beautiful puzzle game, with some mindblowing moments. Definitely recommend playing together with some friends, because sometimes one set of brain cells isn't enough to not get stuck.

Don't Starve Together (2014)

You know how it's like kinda hard to get into Minecraft now since there's like a decade of cruft and new features and stuff, that makes it not super beginner friendly? I kinda feel the same way about DST and am nervous about recommending it, but it's a really fun, creepy survival horror(?) game with a really well done Tim Burton-esque art style.

DST is technically a multiplayer game, and there's a single player version called Don't Starve. These games started off mostly identical, but then diverged in development at some point - I like the DST additions a lot better. DST also got more love since it was a bigger moneymaker for Klei, on account of them selling skins and stuff (very ethically! you never pay for lootboxes, just the skins you want.)

Hades (2020)

Just a really well put together rogue-lite. You play Zagreus, a prince of hell, and you're trying to escape the underworld.

Hollow Knight (2017)

Just a really well put together metroidvania set in a creepy bug kingdom. You play as a little critter that is good at jumping and dashing and great with a needle, which you use as a sword.

Return of the Obra Dinn (2018)

A mystery game with a ridiculously cool art style and premise. Another game that you should play with a friend, because you're going to need all your brain juice. Also a notebook, and possibly a second computer...

10/10/5+ Games

Here are the games I'd rate 10/10 on at least 2 out of visuals/text/enjoyment, and 5+ on the 3rd thing.


A VN game that got me to understand my gender a lot better.

Visuals: 10 Text: 10 Enjoyment: 7

Night in the Woods (2017)

Stuck on this dead end street
Where all the new kids come to play
Stuck, where past and future meet
Watching all our autumns drift away

Visuals: 10 Text: 10 Enjoyment: 6

Cuphead (2017)

Just a well done bullet hell game with a retro (40s-50s animation) aesthetic. Text is sparse but pretty well done.

Visuals: 10 Text: 8 Enjoyment: 10

Psycholonials (2021)

Andrew Hussie's project after Homestuck. I like Andrew Hussie's stuff.

Visuals: 7 Text: 10 Enjoyment: 10

Ori and the Blind Forest (2015)

Another really pretty metroidvania. You play as a little creature in a dying forest, and the leaps that you do are joyous. The sequel is also really fun ahd should honestly be here! But it felt pretty contrived that Ori has to re-learn all of the movesets and I had to go most of the game without bash yet again - Bash being the feature that I think really makes the game as enjoyable and iconic as it is.

Visuals: 10 Text: 6 Enjoyment: 10

Doki Doki Literature Club (2017)

A genre twisting visual novel about getting to know cute anime girls. cw everything.

Visuals: 9 Text: 10 Enjoyment: 10

Butterfly Soup (2017)

A VN about some really funny lesbian gals.

Visuals: 9 Text: 10 Enjoyment: 10

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (2007, DS)/Spirit Tracks (2009, DS)

(I have no idea what to link here, nintendo no longer has pages for these games :()
These are the 2 Zelda games I like the most. Both are adventure games where you wander around a cool land and solve puzzles to unlock/collect things. Two perfect little gems :)

Visuals: 10 Text: 5 Enjoyment: 10

Jam and the Mystery of the Mysteriously Spooky Mansion (2019)

A short game/encyclopedia brown parody.

Visuals: 8 Text: 10 Enjoyment: 10

The Frog Detective Series (2018, 2019, 2022)

There's 3 games in the series, and each one is like $5 and 2 hours to play through. Theses games are less games and more like listening to your incredibly funny friend crack silly jokes for 2 hours straight. Also, the visuals are adorable.

Visuals: 10 Text: 10 Enjoyment: 8

Games That Have Worse Ratings But I'm Choosing To Have Them Here Anyways Bc They're Really Great And Sometimes Ur Categorization Lets Good Games Fall Through The Cracks

Shattered Pixel Dungeon (2014 - ongoing development, Android)

A really addictive roguelike dungeon crawler. I know I said that I don't generally like pixel art but it's done really well here. Also, it's a fork of a game that was open source, that then grew to be better than the original! I think that's really cool :)

Visuals: 7 Text: 4 Enjoyment: 10

Minesweeper (1990?)

The game that I probably spent the most hours playing over my life. There's something so ridiculously meditative about it, it sucks me into the flow state right away. I recommend this android version, which ensures no unsolvable 50/50s. Also, if you have like, windows 8 or higher, the windows version is trash and literally impossible to get into a flow state with, and wikipedia says it also has microtransactions??? Bleh. I would instead poke around what opinionated players have to say about the game and pick up a version they recommend.

Visuals: 2 Text: 0 Enjoyment: 1000

Stardew Valley (2016)

You leave your corporate job to take over your grandfather's abandoned farm in a charming little town named Stardew Valley.

Visuals: 8 Text: 6 Enjoyment: 10

Civ VI (2016)

A game where you babysit a civilization from birth until it achieves some sort of total dominance over the rest of the civilizations - whether that's becoming a cultural or scientific power centre, or doing stuff with religion or armies. Infinitely fiddly in a pleasant way. I only wish that there was a sandbox mode so I can just have my one lone civilization on the map and focus on ensuring that all my citizens live happy, fulfilled lives without fear of war or forcible conversion to another religion :(

Visuals: 8 Text: 6 Enjoyment: 10

Slay the Spire (2017)

A well done and really addictive roguelike deck-building game. Also the creators are cool and effective altruists.

Visuals: 5 Text: 5 Enjoyment: 10

Fire Emblem: Awakening (2012, 3DS)

(nintendo continues to suck at having webpages for their old stuff)
My favourite Fire Emblem game - a series focused on turn-based tactics on battlefields. The story was great (for Fire Emblem)! And as with all Fire Emblem games, the visuals are hard to beat.

Visuals: 10 Text: 6 Enjoyment: 9

Professor Layton and the Curious Village (2007, DS)/Diabolical Box (2007, DS)/Unwound Future (2008, DS)

(giving up on links for nintendo games)
Sometimes you just want to pretend to be a precocious little British lad and solve some puzzles, okay?

The 3 games listed are the first 3 in the series, but I haven't had a bad time with any of them - however as the games continue on the puzzles get a little more tired/contrived imo.

Visuals: 10 Text: 5 Enjoyment: 8

home | top