“Spider Island,” by Crippled Black Phoenix
“Ulvinde,” by Myrkur
“Blessed Instant,” by Olivia Chaney
“Obstacles,” by Syd Matters
“Ascension,” by The Comet is Coming
“This Isn’t the Place,” by Nine Inch Nails
“Tomboy,” by Hyukoh
“Forever Summer Holiday,” by Kero Kero Bonito
“It All Feels Right,” by Paracosm
“On the Couch Again,” by John Wesley Coleman III
“The Firebird’s Tale,” by Anya Ow
“sleepdrone/superposition,” by P.O.S.
“Cecilia and the Silhouette Saloon,” by The Blood Brothers
“Soul Dracula,” by Hot Blood
“Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight),” by ABBA
“Oath to Order,” by Theophany
“You Won’t See Me In the Morning,” by Betty Davis
“Driving Spain Up a Wall,” by City of Caterpillar
“Pretty Little Head,” by Eliza Rickman
Selected by Stu Horvath, Casey Lynch, Matt Marrone, Sydney Wemple, Jeremy Voss, Erik Weinbrecht, Khee Hoon Chan, Melissa King, Gavin Craig, Michael Edwards, Amanda Hudgins, Austin Price, Mitch Bowman, Ken Lucas, Corey Milne, Rob Haines, Sara Clemens, Levi Rubeck and Gingy Gibson
My Best Friend’s Exorcism, by Grady Hendrix
The Shining, by Stephen King
The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James
The Stone Sky, by N. K. Jemisin
Star Wars: Ahsoka, by E. K. Johnson
Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
Cannibals: Stories From The Edge of the Pine Barrens, by Jen Conley
The Firebird’s Tale, by Anya Ow
Comics: A Global History, 1968 to the Present, by Dan Mazur and Alexander Danner
Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice, by Rudolf Rocker
Embed With Games, by Cara Ellison
Vicious, by V. E. Schwab
My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, by Jeanette Winterson
Jailbird, by Kurt Vonnegut
Selected by Stu Horvath, Matt Marrone, Sydney Wemple, Jeremy Voss, Erik Weinbrecht, Gavin Craig, Michael Edwards, Amanda Hudgins, Austin Price, Mitch Bowman, Corey Milne, Rob Haines, Sara Clemens, Levi Rubeck and Gingy Gibson
Dead Horizon – Back in Issue 92. Matthew Ritter wrote about his in-development point-and-click gunfighter game. It came out, it is free, it is short and, most importantly, it is beautiful and moving. Grab it!
Sonic Mania – Oh my god, I feel like a 6-year-old version of myself hopped up on Coca-Cola and Sour Patch Kids. This game rules.
140 – 140 started out deceptively subdued. A single white square hops, skips and dashes across a blocky, monochromatic level to the drone of soft, electronic music. Then, it picks up one of four suspended spheres, depositing it in a semi-circle towards the end of the stage. The same square then transforms into a triangle as it floats up, pulsating with energy. It explodes. A new color is introduced to the environment. As you progress, the soundtrack becomes increasingly energetic. More splashes of color, contained in geometric shapes, quiver and drench the levels in rainbow hues. But what belies this minimalist platformer’s beauty is a series of punishing puzzles. I spent about half an hour alone on the final boss level, only going to bed at 2AM. Naturally, my face is now drained of color.
(Khee Hoon Chan)
X-Com 2: War of the Chosen – I finally picked this up on one of the recent Steam sales and I’m really enjoying it. It adds a bunch of new bells and whistles while still feeling super similar to the first game, which is a good thing, because that game ruled.
It still looks and plays great, with a myriad of new ways to get my beloved, carefully customized soldiers killed. I’ve got my propaganda team working around the clock producing inspiring posters featuring the actor Kurt Russell. But I fear that’ll only take us so far.
Policenauts – Haven’t been playing this one, but rather watching an LP by Super Best Friends Play. I’ve discovered that Kojima still had his attention to detail and bizarre outlook on women back in the 90s.
Puyo Puyo Tetris – I am obsessed with a good mobile game. Traditionally these have been on my phone – terrible iterations of Tetris, the Tsum Tsum mobile game, Downwell. Give me something repetitive to do and I am 100% there. The latest game has been a departure in that it required me to dust off my PS Vita and play a Japanese import – Puyo Puyo Tetris. It’s repetitive and competitive in the best ways possible, to the point where I’ve started carrying a Vita around with me again. If it’s good enough for that, you know it’s a solid buy.
Valkyrie Profile – Fate/Grand Order’s gorgeous sprite work, emphasis on turn-based combat that generally revolves around building meter to unleash finishing moves and its emphasis on mythological characters mixed with the fucking horrid mechanics and grindy structure to make me yearn for a truly great JRPG. Which in turn got me thinking about Valkyrie Profile, which is exactly what Grand Order wishes it could be. Good lord, I haven’t played this since the summer before senior year of high school when I spent three nights after working the day shift at Target staying up until my next shift just to play it. I’m consistently amazed at how well the battle system and the dungeons stand up even this many years later: why don’t more RPGs spend more time making the actual dungeons fun to explore and as challenging as any battle therein (Well, besides the fact that it would take imagination and time, I guess)? A certified classic. And that soundtrack don’t hurt, either . . .
Stellaris – I’ve never seen a game of Stellaris through to its untimely end, but dear god the civilization creation process does delightful things to my brain. With the new AI-focused expansion on its way, this seemed the perfect opportunity to craft my very own species of nomadic pacifist hyperspace jellyfish and noodle around for a few days enjoying Stellaris’ suitably epic soundtrack.
Wolfenstein: The New Order – I don’t know, I just had the overwhelming urge to take out some Nazis. Pretty random, I suppose. I’m actually generally terrible at shootybangs, but I really wanted to take this game out for a spin for some unexplainable reason. Just a whim. That’s me, though: whimsical! Fuck Nazis.
No Man’s Sky – I can’t stop. It’s not really a whole lot of binge-playing so much as an excuse to work through podcasts and pine for cooler ships. I vaguely follow the narrative paths, upgrade my scanners so as to scrape fistfuls of units from the flora and fauna of every planet I come across, take on missions to eradicate hordes of adorable/terrifying creatures for a smattering of nanites, rinse and repeat. If nothing else, I found a system discovered by another player that they christened “boogersandboobs,” so you know this game is capital-A Art.
Final Fantasy IX – This is easily my favorite game in the whole series. It has the crafting, open world exploration and fairy tale elements I love from other FF games, and I adore the soundtrack; listening to “Roses of May” always puts me in a better mood. But it’s the characters that really make this one of the better games in the series. They all struggle and fail again and again, and a lot of the time there’s no way to fix what goes wrong. Yet they keep going and supporting each other, because this ramshackle team is all they have. It’s a lovely game that I strongly recommend for anyone who likes older RPGs.