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I've been here the whole time.

In other words; Game Changers.

Every now and then I think I should put down on virtual paper why I feel some games are truly in a different echelon for my personal rankings. Then I think how I don't even have a definitive list of personal rankings. I don't know that today we'll sort out a ranked preference or provide definitive, convincing support on why each item below is a cut-above. Regardless, I thought there should be a one-stop shop for games that I think are absolutely worth playing because they do something unfamiliar within a familiar medium, and in some cases provide an experience that's better off being picked up sight unseen.

List items

  • This is, far and away, my favorite game I've ever played. It's not perfect by any stretch, but so many pieces of it are exceptionally well done and they all truly interweave in a way that only a game experience can truly provide. The music is top notch, the gameplay is good, the story is amazing, and being at the center of it all blending together is an unmatched feeling in games for me.

    Special note: If you have *any* desire to play this game - please avoid looking up anything more than official trailers for the game. It is a game centrally about learning the secrets of the systems you inhabit, so spoilers are truly a detriment to the natural experience. If you get stuck on a puzzle there may be something to learn elsewhere first. If you absolutely need to look something up, there are guides designed to provide as spoiler-free of a solution as possible.

  • What an incredible, rich world this game develops and then dives ever deeper with each playthrough. Satisfying gameplay that shifts perspective and style often and nails each mode.

  • With the caveat that you should heed the warnings at the front of the game seriously, I absolutely recommend anyone who is not turned away from the topics discussed play this game. It takes a well-worn game style and uses it as a launching pad to hit on some topics not often presented in games and stylistically go off the rails in the best ways.

  • What starts as a platformer with a cool gimmick and an incredible soundtrack ended with me filling multiple notebook pages trying to crack the hidden meanings of the universe.

  • An awesome experience that serves to highlight player agency, or a lack thereof. To me both the original and the new Ultra Deluxe release serve to act as both parody and reflection on modern games as they exist.

  • From the same creator as The Stanley Parable but evocative of an entirely different mood. Parable's whimsy and mischievous nature is replaced by the detached curiosity of a bystander looking over an operating room theater. The crux of the game is that the developer, also the narrator, is taking you through a bunch of projects by a small creator he was always a fan of. You get a real insight into what it takes to make a game and how we apply our own personal insights to our experiences.