Every month, Team Unwinnable puts together short lists of recommended music, books and games. These lists originally appeared in Unwinnable Monthly 90. If you enjoy what you read, please buy the issue or subscribe.
“Uncomfortably Numb,” by Graveyard
“Starboy” by the Weeknd
“Goose Snow Cone,” by Aimee Mann
“Lonesome Sound” by Merchandise
“Parking Lot” – Blink-182
“Steambreather”, by Mastodon
“Shady Lane”- Pavement
“Empty Walls” – Serj Tankian
“Sleepover,” by Hayley Kiyoko
“Executioner’s Tax,” by Power Trip
“7” by Prince
“How Much Does Your Love Cost,” by Thelma Plum
“Love Vigilantes” by New Order
Selected by Stu Horvath, Amanda Hudgins, Matt Marrone, Austin Price, Erik Weinbrecht, Jeremy Voss, Michael Edwards, Matt Sayer, Melissa King, Chuck Moran, Gavin Craig, Sara Clemens, Ian Gonzales
Satanic Panic: Pop Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s, by Kier-La Janisse & Paul Corupe
House of Psychotic Women, by Kier-La Janisse
The Glory of Their Times, by Lawrence S. Ritter
Temporary People, by Deepak Unnikrishnan
It, by Stephen King
Ill Will, by Dan Chaon
High Priest of California, by Charles Willeford
Spelunky, by Derek Yu
Fifth Business, by Robertson Davies
How to Survive in a Science Fiction Universe, by Charles Yu
American War, by Omar El Akkad
Star Wars: Thrawn, by Timothy Zahn
Selected by Stu Horvath, Amanda Hudgins, Matt Marrone, Austin Price, Erik Weinbrecht, Jeremy Voss, Michael Edwards, Matt Sayer, Gavin Craig, Megan Condis, Sara Clemens and Ian Gonzales
Secret World Legends Beta – I had to digitally sign a non-disclosure agreement to get access to get into the beta (Is that normal? I don’t usually beta) so I am going to err on the side of caution and not talk about what Secret World Legends is like at all. I am just going to restate that the original Secret World is the best MMO and fantastically written if you’re into 90s-style conspiracy theories and cosmic horror. Legends is more of the same. With a less robust set of beard options. I say, pointedly.
Spelltower – I have a fairly sizeable attachment to quick games that can be played on my phone and Spelltower fits the bill. I took a break to begin my year+ Downwell binge, but Spelltower has taken over as my primary game for waiting rooms.
Nier (the original, not the new one) – Started this one up in preparation for the day I finally get my PS4 up to New York and can play Automata. And because one of my best friends here won’t let me not play it. So we tried to stumble through a few hours while getting high but that never goes well . . . One day, I swear to god, I really will sit down with this one. I love Taro’s other work for its vision and its madness and the wild aesthetics if not so much for the mechanics, so I’m excited about this one, but god damn if it just isn’t impossible to find time in this nightmare city they call the Rotten Apple.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – I cannot stop playing or thinking about this game. I think it has become my favorite in the series and, barring a shit ending, one of my all-time favorite games. This game alone has made the Nintendo Switch worth every penny.
Mass Effect: Andromeda – I have given this game about 20,000 benefits of the doubt and maybe a dozen too many hours. And yet I am still determined to finish it. My mother is in the hospital and my job is slowly killing me and it’s possible I’m just in a great deal of denial as far as my tolerance for escapism is concerned.
Oddworld: New N’ Tasty – I had an odd obsession with the original Oddworld during my first two years of college. Living in the dorms I had lots of time on my hands. Later I discovered that time was for me to study and write papers. I rectified my poor grades and graduating with a decent GPA, so now it’s safe to play videogames in my spare time. It was nice to discover that there’s a clean and remastered version of this game that didn’t lose the oddness.
Legend of Zelda Windwaker HD and Ocarina of Time – Simultaneously!
RBI Baseball 2017 (iOS) – Opening Week of baseball coincided with my wife and kid taking a spring-break trip to Portugal. I had plenty of things to occupy my time in their absence – work, mostly – but I did play a few games of RBI Baseball 2017 on my iPhone while they were away. Four games in, my digital Yankees were in first place and Gary Sanchez was leading the majors with six home runs. The real Opening Day wasn’t nearly as exciting – but it’s a long season.
American Truck Simulator – Hauling cargo across the deserts of Arizona isn’t something I expected to be relaxing and yet I’ve found myself sinking into an almost meditative state playing American Truck Simulator. The hiss of hydraulics, the tick of turn signals, the thrum of eighteen wheels rolling on and on and on – it’s the soundtrack of the open road and it never fails to put my mind at ease. Whenever I need to chill, a few deliveries in American Truck Simulator is the perfect balm for the stresses of life.
Persona 5 – I got the Take Your Heart edition of this game since reviews of the Japanese version were already good and, after getting a few hours in, I love having the extra swag for such a good game. Surprisingly, the beginning of the game is much, much darker than the past two Hip Teen installments of Persona. Major content warning for physical and sexual abuse and suicide during the beginning, but if you can manage that, it can make things very engaging because you’ll want to beat the shit out of the first major villain.
Mystic Messenger – I picked up this South Korean otome after one of my site’s guest writers submitted a piece on it. It’s a mobile game that offers insta-immersion, since the way to play is to periodically chat and text with various (very attractive) characters. It’s fun to see what the group’s up to whenever I have an idle moment during the day, although I’m not sure what to make of their ongoing obsession with my eating habits. “Have you eaten lunch, Sara?” “Sara, are you planning to eat soon?” “It’s important to remember to never skip meals, Sara!” NO ONE SKIPS MEALS IN THIS HOUSE I JUST TOOK DOWN SIX TACOS GET OFF MY BACK
Transformers: Forged to Fight – I love Transformers. One of my earliest pieces for Unwinnable was about the Transformers Famicom game, Mystery of Convoy. Forged to Fight is a much better videogame. It’s a straight up brawler! I turned Ironhide into a beast that took out an evil Grimlock in two punches. TWO PUNCHES! The big downside to the game is that it’s a freemium fighter like Marvel Contest of Champions, so I’m sure I’ll hit a paywall soon.