Several Recommendations: Gaming, Video or Otherwise

I play a lot of video games, so I was actually a little surprised to see how few video games I’ve actually done recommendations for. But I’ve at least done enough that I could do a sort of best-of list.

I play a lot of video games, so I was actually a little surprised to see how few video games I’ve actually done recommendations for. But I’ve at least done enough that I could do a sort of best-of list.


Now, Dragon’s Crown doesn’t really capture the gameplay experience of tabletop Dungeons & Dragons, but not even the official Dungeons & Dragons games do that, given the realities of adapting the source material to an entirely different mode of play.

However, Dragon’s Crown does a very, very good job of capturing the spiritof Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, Dragon’s Crown is pretty much an updated version of the Dungeons & Dragons arcade games from the 90s.

Dragon’s Crown is one big love letter to Fantasy gaming, both video and tabletop. It does an excellent job of evoking the feeling of progress through a Dungeon & Dragons campaign, featuring a running narration meant to represent the voice of a tabletop DM. And while Dragon’s Crown is best enjoyed with friends, it’s not completely inaccessible to the friendless.

My full recommendation is here:

Now, if I could summarise the Warriors games, it would be “ludicrously violent”. By that, I don’t mean that the violence is especially graphic or lurid — by the standards of modern video games, it’s downright tame. What I mean is literally that the nature of the violence is itself ludicrous: you press a button, your character slams his sword into the ground, which causes an explosion that sends eight people flying.

Koei’s Warriors Games are great at capturing the feeling of being a badass demigod hero. The fundamental gameplay loop is “one-vs-a-thousand, you-vs-everyone, press a button, punch eight people into orbit.”

And, yeah, it’s kinda low-brow, low-IQ. But sometimes, don’t you just want to turn off your brain, be unstoppable, and drive your enemies into the sea while some genuinely rocking music is blaring in the background?

Also, given how ridiculous the presentation is, you’ll learn a shocking amount of historical information about either ancient China or feudal Japan

My full recommendation is here:

Fire Emblem has also proven itself something of a cause of consternation for Smash Bros. fans, given the abundance of playable Fire Emblem characters making their way into the series, especially relative to the series’ comparative obscurity to Nintendo’s heavy hitters.

Fire Emblem: come for the tears of salty Smash Bros. fans, stay for the epic Fantasy tactical RPGs. Also, play matchmaker for your characters as they save the world from evil with divine artifacts that are very rarely either actually on fire or emblems.

My full recommendation is here:

It’s rather apropos that the game starts with your character quitting his or her job to move to their late grandfather’s farm to escape the bleak, soul-crushing corporate drudgery of office work … Both from your character’s in-game perspective and from a real-life gameplay perspective, Stardew Valley is clearly meant as an escape.

Stardew is a good game.

It’s very easy to sink many, many hours into tending to your farm and becoming a pillar of your in-game community. It’s a laid-back, low-pressure, low-stakes game that is a welcome change of pace from, well, basically every other piece of media out there.

My full recommendation is here:

At this point, Dungeons & Dragons is both a nerd icon and essentially a nerd rite of passage, to the point that pretty much everyone with even the most tenuous connection to well-known Pop Culture plays Dungeons & Dragons.

Speaking of changes of pace, I’m shifting away from video games to tabletop games (and, in fact, probably the tabletop game) to close out this list.

Dungeons & Dragons may not be a video game (though there are plenty of DnD video games), but it’s been hugely influential on a lot of modern video games, both in terms of mechanics and worldbuilding.

It’s also a great opportunity to flex your imaginative powers, and that’s always a good thing.

My full recommendation is here:

The rest of my recommendations are here.

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