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Zoe Quinn's Top 10 Games of 2013

Alternately known as Zoe Quinn's Top 10 URLs of 2013.

Zoe Quinn is the creator of Depression Quest, which is currently working its way through Steam Greenlight. Zoe is @ZoeQuinnzel on Twitter.

Since starting to make games, I’ve sadly become a really bad nerd. I’ve been more and more pressed for time and haven’t been able to sit down and marathon the 60+ hour long games that I fell in love with as a kid. This isn’t as unfortunate as it sounds though--some of the best stuff coming out of independent gaming right now are short games that do something interesting, make their point, and let you get on with your life. Best of all, they tend to be free or donationware, though do consider supporting the developers if you like the free content they put out there. There’s a wealth of really amazing free games circulating around the internet, begging to be shared and loved.

Most of these run in-browser. Most of them are delightfully strange. All of them are free, so you might as well take an afternoon and blitz through these. I couldn’t possibly rank them, and there’s many more that I wish I could feature--I’ll likely submit this article and slap my forehead in an "OH GEEZ I FORGOT THAT!?" moment immediately after. However, this will have to suffice--hopefully even just one of these leads you down a rabbit hole of interesting little gamelings and their creators, much in the way you can lose a night by clicking through related articles on Wikipedia.

Bubsy 3D

I’ve started and erased my intro to this game about 5 times, and I think that in and of itself is a really good description of Bubsy 3D. A lot of what makes this game interesting is how it surprises you, so go and behold how Bubsy’s grown up. Make sure you enter the Cheat Codes upon completion for extra fun.

Cry$tal Warrior Ke$ha

This game has it all and knows it. Best played outloud in a group of friends so that you can collectively feel like badasses as you shout out MANTIS VICTORY SCREAM together.

Candy Box

Candy Box starts out wonderfully minimalist and continues to surprise you as it evolves and shapes itself into something completely different. It’s possible to totally miss the game in it if you discount it on first blush. One of the nicest parts about it is how you can let it run in the background and come back to it at will.

A Dark Room

This looks really similar to Candy Box but takes it in a completely different direction. It’s also got some of the most compelling writing I’ve seen in a game this year, and I fell into it instantly and didn’t want to come back out.

Save the Date

Save The Date takes an interesting turn from dating simulator to… well, I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise. Give it a few playthroughs. Save The Date is like that one really observant friend you have that surprises you by noticing things you weren’t even paying attention to yourself. It’s also an interesting examination into how and why we tell stories.

Sounddodger

Sounddodger is… well, for lack of eloquence it’s fucking beautiful. This game is a fresh take on music games, and the music selection is diverse and manages to avoid resorting to ONLY dubstep and jpop like so many games of it’s genre.

Desert Hike EX

This one holds a special, horribly biased place in my heart as a game that pokes fun at Burning Man and Silicon Valley startup culture while being an entertaining and difficult Oregon Trail-like.

Sacrilege

Sexuality is often portrayed unrealistically in all media, and games are scarcely an exception. Sacrilege unflinchingly examines parts and perspectives of sexuality I haven’t seen well-represented in games, while making it relatable, human, and most importantly honest.

Pause Ahead

Pause Ahead is a platformer wrapped around a clever mechanic and should be a very good pick for fans of the genre with a twist. See if you can figure out what that twist is.

Room of 1000 Snakes

Finishing up with another amazing game from Arcane Kids, you are an adventurer who must learn the mystery of snakes. Make sure you play this one with sound, and stop by the gift shop after.

314 Comments
Edited by BeachThunder

She forgot Depression Quest!

Posted by jimmyfenix

Bubsy 3D GOTY

Posted by Seedofpower

She forgot Depression Quest!

I always thought that game devs don't put their game in their personal top 10 because they are sick of playing it.

Edited by jiggajoe14

I really need to play that Bubsy game lol

Posted by machinerebel

Woohoo, Zoe! :D

Posted by Sin4profit

Seeing as i havn't heard of most of these games this is officially the most useful GOTY list i've read.

Edited by Pixel_Kaiser

Rad to see Zoe's list here. And yeah, Bubsy 3D straight up rules.

Edited by SirOptimusPrime

Seeing as i havn't heard of most of these games this is officially the most useful GOTY list i've read.

Yeah, there are a couple here I plain haven't heard of. Nice to have a list that makes me have to actually look shit up for once.

Edited by RetroVirus

Room of 1000 Snakes is a favorite of mine, good pick!

Edited by noizy

@beachthunder said:

She forgot Depression Quest!

I always thought that game devs don't put their game in their personal top 10 because they are sick of playing it.

Also because it looks egomaniacal as hell to do that.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I really need to play that Bubsy game lol

Posted by hollitz

Yay! Zoe is one of the most entertaining people on Twitter.

Posted by noizy

I'm not trying to be a dick but why do we get lists from people most of us haven't heard about before? I get that we see people like Eric Pope and Greg Kasavin, Giant Bomb affiliates, but not random people.

You're a random people.

Posted by Mister_V

@gunsaredrawn: You mean people YOU haven't heard of. There is a whole world of video games outside of Giant Bomb.

Posted by ILikePopCans

I'm not trying to be a dick but why do we get lists from people most of us haven't heard about before? I get that we see people like Eric Pope and Greg Kasavin, Giant Bomb affiliates, but not random people.

Because why not. Who cares. Just ignore it.

Pick and choose.

Posted by IamTerics

Man A Dark Room was a great take on the Candy Box thing. Save the Date is awesome too. Great list

Edited by megalowho

Seeing as i havn't heard of most of these games this is officially the most useful GOTY list i've read.

I feel the same, time to play some new shit

Posted by Ixaan

I'm not trying to be a dick but why do we get lists from people most of us haven't heard about before? I get that we see people like Eric Pope and Greg Kasavin, Giant Bomb affiliates, but not random people.


If you follow Patrick's coverage or pay attention to other gaming outlets as well, Zoe is far from random people.

Posted by mbdoeden

Sounddodger is fucking cool.

Posted by Shivoa

I'm not trying to be a dick but why do we get lists from people most of us haven't heard about before? I get that we see people like Eric Pope and Greg Kasavin, Giant Bomb affiliates, but not random people.

You mean how do GB manage to get game devs to spend their free time thinking up and writing out details of the games they've enjoyed each year for the site? I guess we're all just blessed that the GB crew are on such good terms with all these awesome devs.

As above, list is solid gold because it has pointed me at some games I would otherwise have not even known about. Top stuff.

Posted by Gamer_152

@gunsaredrawn said:

I'm not trying to be a dick but why do we get lists from people most of us haven't heard about before? I get that we see people like Eric Pope and Greg Kasavin, Giant Bomb affiliates, but not random people.

Well, kind of for the same reason anyone shows up on this site we haven't heard of before. Considering this is a video game website it's relevant to feature lots of different people from the games industry and the more different and diverse people show up on the site, the more opinions, experiences, insights, and perspectives can be represented on the site. I think that's a very positive thing. I mean there will have been a time when you didn't know who many of the site affiliates were, but you know now because they introduced them to you, and this is how people become affiliated with the site to begin with.

Anyway, nice list. Cool to see something out of the ordinary.

Moderator
Posted by Shaanyboi

Bunch of games I've never heard of... I should probably play these...

Edited by Dallas_Raines

@gunsaredrawn: They always reach out to a wide assortment of people for lists every year. It's never been just close friends of the site.

Posted by Video_Game_King

I'm not trying to be a dick but why do we get lists from people most of us haven't heard about before?

Wasn't Zoe mentioned in the latest Worth Reading?

Online
Posted by Stimpack

Now this is a list!

Posted by gerrid

A Dark Room is surprisingly engrossing and just grows and grows with complexity. The writing is excellent too. I played it with the starbound soundtrack in the background which worked well

Posted by GoneWacko

I'm not trying to be a dick but why do we get lists from people most of us haven't heard about before? I get that we see people like Eric Pope and Greg Kasavin, Giant Bomb affiliates, but not random people.

That's a weird thing to question. It's not like it's costing you anything for this list to be here, surely? I don't see a downside. Just skim through it (I'll admit that I did) or skip it entirely if it's not interesting.

Edited by DevourerOfTime

No one's mentioned Pause Ahead in the comments yet. It is an absolutely fantastic game made by the developer of the near perfect Tower of Heaven. Go play it. Now.

Edited by DevourerOfTime
@video_game_king said:

@gunsaredrawn said:

I'm not trying to be a dick but why do we get lists from people most of us haven't heard about before?

Wasn't Zoe mentioned in the latest Worth Reading?

Yes There was also an article about Depression Quest earlier this year.

Plus, if you don't know who Zoe Quinn is, you obviously aren't paying enough attention to the independent gaming scene. Just because you haven't heard of her, doesn't mean she hasn't made some huge contributions to gaming this year.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@devoureroftime:

Contribution. As in "Depression Quest". Or has she written a ton of articles about indie gaming on the side or whatever?

Online
Edited by Gold_Skulltulla

Seeing as i havn't heard of most of these games this is officially the most useful GOTY list i've read.

Yup. Love it.

Posted by DevourerOfTime

@devoureroftime:

Contribution. As in "Depression Quest". Or has she written a ton of articles about indie gaming on the side or whatever?

There is much, much more to contributing to video games and game development than releasing a game. A quick example was her push a few weeks ago to build and organize a substantial support network for new and upcoming developers. It's a fairly simple gesture from the outside looking in, but for budding game developer such as myself, these sort of resources are simply invaluable and incredibly rare.

Posted by SovietofBears

Awesome, hopefully most of these will work in my tablet browser while I'm home for the season. Could well be the most useful of all the lists so far for me, thanks Zoe :)

Posted by Evercaptor

@patrickklepek When I think of Indies, Zoe Quinn and Christine Love are always the top of my list. Is there a Love article coming, too?

Edited by MrMazz

This is a useful different list compared to the sea of homoginized sameness that are the top 10 list

Posted by Paindamnation

Eh. Seems okay.

Posted by SovietofBears

@dr_zox: And a Merry Christmas to you, you bundle of laughs...

Edited by 5eNintendan

Well this list was... a list.

Edited by code3xbl

Definitely some new games to check out, since i don't pay attention to the indie scene much.

Thanks for the list Zoe!

Come on folks, it's video games!

Posted by mracoon

Nice to see Pause Ahead getting some attention. That game has a great soundtrack, too.

Moderator
Posted by Redhotchilimist

Never played(barely heard of) any of these besides one, so maybe I should give it a go? Maybe then I'd actually have finished enough games from this year to have enough for a top 10 list. Really, really did not like Bubsy though.

Posted by TheCheese33

I NEED RELIEF

Bubsy 3D is kind of a hilarious joke, but it also makes me feel something? It's so hard to describe.

Anyway, excellent list, Zoe!

Posted by RenMcKormack
Posted by dr_mantas

This is the hipsteriest thing I've seen all year.

I guess the most interesting thing is that I've only heard of one game on the list.