“16 Psyche,” by Chelsea Wolfe
“Seconds” by Pulp
“Halloween,” by Siouxsie and the Banshees
“Move Your Still,” by Feed Me Jack
“Aquarian,” by Grizzly Bear
“Elysium,” by Portishead
“Thriller (Steve Aoki Remix),” by Michael Jackson
“Days of Daze” by tfvsjs
“Form Constant; The Grid,” by Ex Eye
“I Wanna Destroy You,” by The Soft Boys
“Tyson vs. Douglas,” by The Killers
“Praying,” by Kesha
“I Won’t Back Down,” by Tom Petty
“Everyday People,” by Sly & the Family Stone
“A New Career In A New Town,” by David Bowie
“Gravel Pit,” by Wu Tang Clan
Selected by Stu Horvath, Austin Price, Ken Lucas, Jeremy Voss, Gavin Craig, Sara Clemens, Erik Weinbrecht, Khee Hoon Chan, Levi Rubeck, Deirdre Coyle, Melissa King, Amanda Hudgins, Sam Desatoff, Gingy Gibson, Don Becker and Corey Milne
Deadfall Hotel, by Steve Rasnic Tem
Alone with the Horros, by Ramsey Campbell
End of Watch, by Stephen King
Begin With a Failed Body, by Natalie Graham
All These Worlds, by Dennis E. Taylor
The Secret History of Twin Peaks, by Mark Frost
Phasma, by Delilah Dawson
Ada, or Ardor, by Vladimir Nabokov
Ghostland, by Colin Dickey
The Internet of Garbage, by Sarah Jeong
The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Judge Dredd: Satan’s Island, by John Wagner
Selected by Stu Horvath, Austin Price, Jeremy Voss, Gavin Craig, James Fudge, Sara Clemens, Erik Weinbrecht, Levi Rubeck, Deidre Coyle, Amanda Hudgins, Sam Desatoff, Gingy Gibson and Corey Milne
Darkwood – Darkwood is the reason I refuse to buy Early Access games anymore. By Polish developers Acid Wizard Games, it looked like everything I wanted out of a horror game — soaked in darkness, trading in dread, deeply mysterious. And the controls were absolute garbage. To the point that not only was the game unplayable, but I questioned whether the developers had ever played a top-down game previous to sitting down to make theirs. Years later, the controls are fixed and the game delivers on its terrifying promises. But I almost never got to experience that because of the bad first impression. If you had a similar experience, though, take it from me: pick it back up again. You won’t be disappointed.
Fate/Grand Order – Yes, I know I kvetched about this two months ago, but the new expansion drops tomorrow! And I’ll finally be able to push my Lancelot to his 4th ascension! And add the biblical David to my roster of heroes! And . . . and . . . and!!!! (Please, put me down . . . )
Clicker Heroes – I have an unhealthy obsession with idle clickers and goddammit, here I go again. Truth be told, I’m in between a whole bunch of games at the moment — post-campaign Destiny 2, Ys VIII, Everybody’s Golf, Hob, Steamworld Dig 2 just off the top of my head – and I’m also in a bit of a holding pattern as I impatiently wait for the fall’s big releases. Clicker Heroes is a dumb idle clicker and I’ve been obsessed with it in some form for years now; now that the Xbox has Spotify, it’s far too easy for me to fire up some tunes and level the hell out of my heroes as efficiently as possible and also refresh Twitter while waiting for the inevitable heat death of the universe.
Slime Rancher – The titular ranch business has the potential to turn the game into a tedious chore or a depressing factory farm, but as an excuse to explore a peaceful alien world and engage with its ecosystem, it does the job alright.
Sonic Mania – I finally got my hands on a Switch (oh how I love it so), and downloaded this little nostalgia bomb as soon as I had the system set up. I’m appreciating how difficult even the early stages are, and I’m finding myself surprisingly moved by the music. As soon as I (finally) progress to a new stage, I get flooded with memories of sitting on the floor of my bedroom, playing my Genesis or Sega CD, dust motes dancing in a late-afternoon sunbeam.
Metroid: Samus Returns – 2D side scrollers have been taking up all of my time between this and Sonic Mania. This game on the 2DS is gorgeous and maddeningly difficult. I love everything about it.
Limbo – Limbo’s monochromatic world feels dreary and nightmarish. Everything in the environment is out to kill you. Mutated creatures abound and are extremely carnivorous. Even the few humans you meet are hostile and want you dead. Regardless, the young boy in Limbo keeps trudging on. I wasn’t sure what would compel him to do so aside from sheer desperation, but his hazy motivation is mostly what keeps me playing. Puzzle games aren’t usually my cup of tea. Plenty of folks have told me the game is great — and objectively speaking, I know it is a beautiful one — but Limbo is still barely keeping me interested. I hope the experience is worth it.
(Khee Hoon Chan)
Mega Man X – Yeah, I got an SNES mini and, yeah, the first thing I did is fire up a game I can pretty much zoom through in my sleep. MMX hardly needs me to boost it, you’re either in or out at this point, but that dash *kisses fingers* it’s just too sweet to pass up. I feel like an Olympic runner with an arm cannon, an un-traceable ninja, in complete control of a false physics and sense of place in a very specific world. Going through with only the buster makes the boss fights a kind of meditative soiree, a dance where I am two steps ahead, starting into the future like a rainbow tunnel past the void.
Blood Code – So far, my only complaint about this vampiric murder mystery dating sim is that there aren’t enough vampires (this could change, of course, as the game progresses). The mechanics are interesting and the art is adorable. Bonus: the heroine is named Leia.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness – I’ve been living the past year and a half in denial. Only in the discount game bin at Walmart did I get the kick in the rear I needed to acknowledge that this game signals the death of the series. It lays on my game shelf, ready for me to crack open. Wish me luck, y’all.
Derby Owners Club: World Edition – Stopping by the Akiba Arcade in Columbus, I settled in for several runs of Derby Owner Club: World Edition. With its own seating and cards printed with the names and characteristics of the horses, I played for a long time carefully racing and breeding horses until they retired from the races. It’s a ridiculous game and I want to play it forever.
Cuphead – Cuphead is a game that wants you to look at it and appreciate the aesthetics, but the mechanics are actively at odds with that sentiment. It’s been a while since I’ve been this conflicted about a game. On one hand, it is certainly one of the most beautiful games I’ve played, and I think it’s legacy will be that it shifted our perception of what games should look like. On the other hand, it’s damn hard to really appreciate the animation when you’re concentrated on not constantly dying. I wish Cuphead’s art style was in a less difficult game.
Huniepop – This is the game for those of you wondering, “I’m already pretty trash, but how can I become a true human dumpster fire?” The game is built around taking women on a series of dates with the end-goal of getting them into your bed. Success or failure depends on the power of your Bejeweled skills, along with managing resources to get better power-ups to improve your match-3 abilities. It’s surprisingly addictive for such a simple concept, and just this month they’ve announced a sequel for 2018!
Yakuza 0 – This is my first Yakuza game and I’m very excited to see what this seemingly zany series is all about. So far, I’ve kicked a man out of a window so hard, that protagonist Kiryu almost went out the window after him. I like his style.