I chatted with someone who's sidling into the video game industry on the strength of her superpowers in other media. She said she doesn't play games, and I said "well, what games are you playing?" She's been watching her boyfriend play brain-straining puzzle games, so I suggested that before she writes off a medium, she play different kindsa games. Here's my list of games to check out. This is a list skewed towards narrative (she's a voice director), not too difficult games, and Mac games (she has a map); I'd have made a different list for someone else. But you may dig these, too.
Mac/PC - small games
- 80 Days: based on the novel by Jules Verne, if Europe didn't colonize the world
- West of Loathing: really silly and adorable side-scrolling stick-figure Western
- Return of the Obra Dinn: puzzle game in which you must figure out how the 60 people on the Obra Dinn died, and therein lies a sea story
- Black Book: a Slavic witch on a very dubious quest. This is a game where you build your deck of powers -- a "deck-builder."
- Unpacking: A weirdly moving game in which you move into a series of new places to live. Seriously, though.
- Passage: a truly tiny free experimental game about life
- Gorogoa: a sort-of puzzle game where a story unfolds as you move pictures around
- Baba Is You: A word puzzle game. Gets difficult eventually, but you can stop any time.
Mac/PC - bigger games
- Disco Elysium -- a decayed detective trying to solve a murder gets caught up in the politics of an equally decayed Empire
- Contrast: You are the circus girl who is the invisible friend of Didi, an 8 year old trying to uncover the secrets of her past. You can become your own shadow, and walk on shadows.
- Stray: My favorite game of the past twelvemonth. You are a cat, trying to escape a city of robots.
Mac/PC - games where you have to hack and slash a bit
- Cult of the Lamb: you are a sheep trying to bring back a bloodthirsty elder god
- Boyfriend Dungeon: date your swords
- We Happy Few: three slightly horrible people try to escape an insane, groovy dystopian England.
- Banner Saga: Vikings and killer robots from space. Turn-based tactical combat, meaning that you can take as long as you like.
- Into the Breach: Fight giant bugs with mechs. Totally addictive turn-based tactical. A gem of its kind.
PC Only - small
- What Remains of Edith Finch -- What happened to the Finch family in this creepy old house?
- Journey: a mysterious character tries to get to the top of that mountain.
- Papers, Please: a depressing and powerful game about being a bureaucrat in a vaguely Eastern European dictatorship
- The Stanley Parable: an iconic game about choices
- Where the Water Tastes Like Wine: how folk tales grow