20. Outer Wilds
RELEASED 2019 | LAST POSITION New entry
Steven: Outer Wilds is a space exploration game that dishes out epiphanies and revelations so casually it often makes me dizzy. I can’t count the amount of times one of its quantum puzzles or natural phenomena broke my brain as I tried to understand the mysteries of this hand-crafted solar system. But what I really love is that, underneath everything, Outer Wilds is obsessed with cultivating a childlike sense of wonder at the big mysteries of our existence.
19. The Sims 4
RELEASED 2014 | LAST POSITION 21
Joanna: The Sims 4 is arguably one of the most comprehensive—and hilarious—sim games ever created. One of the biggest changes to the series was the addition of nuanced moodlets that make your sims feel inspired, flirty, famished, etc. This means their actions are influenced by their emotions. They can take an angry poop if they are fired up enough.
RELEASED 2018 | LAST POSITION 8
Jody: It’s a survival game set in an alien ocean. Even though deep water gives me the heebie-jeebies, I still love Subnautica. You slowly get to master this strange world, turning vines into rubber then making fins, crafting protection to board a radioactive crashed ship, making vehicles to reach new depths, and at every turn meeting increasingly more terrifying fish beasts.
17. Kerbal Space Program
RELEASED 2015 | LAST POSITION 17
Wes: Kerbal is so much more than entertainment. It’s a cheery beginner’s course on rocket physics and aerodynamics. Soon you’ll have tabs open on YouTube and Wikipedia, trying to figure out how to smoothly enter a lunar orbit. It’s inspiring to realize how much humanity has accomplished, and to understand one fraction of one percent of it.
16. Rainbow Six Siege
RELEASED 2015 | LAST POSITION 6
Evan: I like CS:GO, but this Home Alone Counter-Strike is my favourite Counter- Strike. The relationship you have to the map, and the way Siege empowers you to alter it, fortify it, poke holes in it is very special—every piece of drywall is a tactical canvas for clever setups. That gadgetry doesn’t supercede Siege’s focus on stealth, coordination, and communication. Four years in, I love that I win as many rounds of Siege with my ears and my remote-controlled drone as I do my aim.
15. Yakuza 0
RELEASED 2018 | LAST POSITION New entry
Phil: The best game in Sega’s long running crime series, and—as a prequel—a great place for newcomers to jump in. It’s a celebration of ‘80s excess, in which you punch the money right out of the enemies that you fight. It’s a hardboiled drama, in which you work to uncover the machinations of the rich and the powerful. It’s an absurdist comedy, in which you can let a chicken—called Nugget—manage a portion of your real estate business. It’s heartfelt, silly, and easily recommended.
14. Destiny 2
RELEASED 2017 | LAST POSITION New entry
Tom: This ambitious, sprawling online shooter has excelled since the launch of the Forsaken expansion, and has just completed a mostly-successful year of seasonal updates. There have been mistakes but a move away from Activision into a new cadence of updates will be fascinating to watch, and as a free-to-play game it should be an irresistible package for new players. Cross save will help a generation of console players make the jump to PC too. The servers should be full for years to come.
Phil: The simple fact of Destiny 2 is that it feels good to shoot the guns. However angry you are at a nerf, however bullshit the grind for a specific gun, however much you wish you didn’t have to load onto a planet in order to load into a Black Armory Forge, it won’t change how fundamentally pleasurable it is to shoot Destiny 2’s enemies. That was true in the dark days before the Forsaken expansion retooled the endgame. And it’s true now, as players enjoy what might be the game’s best season to date. In the future there will be ups and there will be downs and there will be frustrating quests for whatever Crucible pinnacle weapon the community has decided is now the best. But—even after many hundreds of hours—that headshot will always feel good.
13. XCOM 2
RELEASED 2016 | LAST POSITION 7
Jody: In this golden age of turn-based tactics, every game in the genre makes me wish I was playing XCOM 2 instead. It does so many things right. The enemies and mission types are varied enough to not feel repetitive. The way the camera zooms in makes you feel connected to your troops. And the way the Chosen rant makes you hate them. It’s engaging enough that even if you planned to go to bed after this mission you’ll end up putting it off.
Tom: I played a few hours while drunk and created a soldier called Balls Balls. He became my most powerful guy and I was sad when a Chryssalid ate him. Few games endear you to your characters as well as XCOM 2.
12. Monster Hunter: World
RELEASED 2018 | LAST POSITION New entry
Wes: Monster Hunter is ultimately fighting the same monsters over and over again, but to me, it never feels repetitive. Every weapon in its arsenal behaves completely differently, giving you a perfect game loop. Hunt Odogaron, a giant pissed off dino dog, for the parts to make a new longsword, then learn its combos and parry for a few hours. I’m still not tired of leaping into the air with the insect glaive, and at 150 hours there are still a dozen weapons I haven’t even touched.
11. What Remains of Edith Finch
RELEASED 2017 | LAST POSITION 5
Joanna: This first-person adventure game is a heartbreaking account of a young woman’s family history as she tries to figure out why she’s the last Finch alive. Edith tells the story of her ancestors and relatives’ untimely deaths from their point of view —and does a masterful job of emotionally connecting you to each family member in a short amount of time. Depending on the age of the family member or their mental state, their deaths can range from fantastical to not-so-subtle. The fantastical ones make it easier to cope with the loss of these characters, especially for me. What Remains of Edith Finch coincidentally mirrored some details of my own family history. It resonates as strongly with me today as it did when I first played it over two years ago.