List-O-Mania, June 2017
Every month, Team Unwinnable puts together short lists of recommended music, books and games. These lists originally appeared in Unwinnable Monthly 92. If you enjoy what you read, please buy the issue or subscribe.
“Lucretia, My Reflection,” by Sisters of Mercy
“Star Roving,” Slowdive
“The Falling Veil,” by Elder
“Jolene,” by Dolly Partin
“Heart of the Desert,” by Ruby Rae
“Sea Dragon,” by Covet
“Shadow,” by Chromatics
“Take Me Out,” by Franz Ferdinand
“My Wave,” by Soundgarden
“Hate That You Know Me,” by Bleachers
“When We’re High,” by LP
“Why Didn’t You Save Me?” – Nicolas Jaar
“Dance Commander,” by Electric Six
“I Am the Highway,” by Audioslave
Selected by Stu Horvath, Michael Edwards, Jeremy Voss, Amanda Hudgins, Corey Milne, Khee Hoon Chan, Matt Marrone, Melissa King, Gavin Craig, Erik Weinbrecht, Sara Clemens, Austin Price, Ian Gonzales and David Shimomura
Guide to Glorantha, by Greg Stafford, Jeff Richard and Sandy Petersen
The Big Midweek: Life Inside the Fall, by Steve Hanley & Olivia Piekarski
The Last Policeman, by Ben Winters
The One That I Want, by Hannah Fisher
PSI-Judge Anderson: The Possessed, by Alan Grant, Brett Ewins, et al
Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, by Edwin G. Burrows & Mike Wallace
Neuromancer, by William Gibson
Power Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life, by Chris Kohler
The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell, by W. Kamau Bell
The Twenty Days of Turin, by Giorgio de Maria
Rock Candy Mountain, by Kyle Starks
Thrawn, by Timothy Zahn
Wool, by Hugh Howey
Selected by Stu Horvath, Michael Edwards, Jeremy Voss, Amanda Hudgins, Corey Milne, Matt Marrone, Gavin Craig, Sara Clemens, Austin Price, Ian Gonzales, David Shimomura and Sam Desatoff
Rise of the Dragon – I first played Rise of the Dragon in 1990 on the computer my father had at the office of his trucking company (it had a color monitor!). A tech-noir (if you call it cyberpunk, I’m going to throw punches) point and click adventure, it took me years to beat. Revisiting it 27 years later, I have two takeaways. First, the story and look of the game hold up surprisingly well. Unlike most games of this sort, the logic of the game mirrors something resembling that of the real world. Which is nice. Second, I remember 95% of how to do everything in the game (a side-effect of years of trial and error, I guess) so it only took me an afternoon to play. Game of the year, 2017.
Gradius V – What can I say? I like impossible space shooters that guide you through bizarre celestial locales like spaceship junkyards, exploding stars and giant space creatures. All while dodging a thousand laser beams while armed only with a fireball cannon and a little rinky-dink missile launcher. This PSN game (originally a PS2 game) delivers all that and more. Mind off, reflexes on. Only one complaint: where are the Moai statue heads so prominent in the other games for this series?
Danger Zone – Crash Mode from Burnout 3, but now on the PS4, nothing more and nothing less. Good for some quick catharsis.
Elite: Dangerous – There haven’t been too many games lately that I’ve wanted to turn my attention to. Elite: Dangerous, though has sucked me right in like a black hole. My late night sessions star hopping across the galaxy have become my go to source for some quality me time. It’s glorious!
Event  – I’ve been hard at work trying to clear my backlog, and am currently rather intrigued by Event  and its use of natural language to converse with the AI. Trying to find out more about the ship I’m in and my situation takes quite a bit of investigation that is not unlike the FMV title, Her Story. The plot plods about occasionally but it has, for the most, captured my attention.
(Khee Hoon Chan)
Does watching Season 3 of Twin Peaks over and over count?
Overwatch – Played the free weekend expecting to play just that weekend for cost-free funsies. Bought the game. Now looking up strats for D.Va, Lucio and Tracer. Dammit.
Mass Effect: Andromeda – It’s really striking, with the main story finished, exactly how many of the original Mass Effect beats Andromeda seems to want to hit. It’s a largely forgivable impulse in a sequel, but it precludes a great deal of the possibility for Andromeda to stand out on its own. Is it greedy to wish that the opportunity for a fresh start in a swiftly-aging franchise would decide to go for something a bit more weird instead of rehashing the now-familiar forms? The body horror elements in the original Mass Effect were bracing and they still hold a certain power, but there are different mysteries and different horrors. I loved the Normandy, but that was six hundred years ago in a different galaxy, so it’s strange that everywhere that my Ryder goes she keeps running into the same things.
Kirby: Planet Robot – Having not played a Kirby game since Dreamland on the SNES or NES (I honestly don’t recall) this one came highly recommended from a couple of friends after I told them I picked up Nintendo’s handheld. So far, the sickeningly sweet, bright and colorful game is a lot of fun. I’m hoping it gets a little more challenging as it goes on, but this is a fun reminder of what Nintendo’s DNA is made of – games that have great controls and interesting gameplay.
Miitomo – There’s a surreal voyeurism to reviewing the clever quips that are my friends’ responses to Nintendo’s endless questions, especially because nearly all of them are from over a year ago, and none from within the past few months. Like finding a cache of diaries in a ghost town.
Avengers Academy – In terms of sheer dollars I think Avengers Academy is the game that has been the most expensive in my entire life. Something about its massive difficulty spikes demanding you pay to get even close to unlocking something like Baby Groot (or just straight up paying for Baby Groot) or everyone’s sweet, angsty costumes really make me shell out. It’s awful and beautiful and awful and I love it.