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Good video games

This is a journal prompt to make a list.

So, here are 5 video games to which I refer often when people ask me if video games are art (actually, they never ask that; they just ask what my favorites are. This is mostly in descending order of awesome. Mostly.

  1. Undertale by Toby Fox – an emotional experience like no other, Undertale speaks to the lost child in all of us. Yes, all indie games feature this now, but Undertale earns every metagame moment, and genuinely makes you feel things about yourself that you wouldn’t have just hitting buttons in a JRPG on which it’s modeled.
  2. Planescape: Torment – Released in 1999, this game set the standard for multiple endings based on story decisions and remains the game for which the most writing was ever done. Each setting and every character have unimaginable depth based solely on the writing and the evocation of your own imagination.
  3. Mass Effect Series – This game has unbelievable scale, broke down barriers of openly gay relationships in video games, and defined the narrative western RPG forever. Although Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic tested the waters for Bioware’s epic, they proved with this series that their writers could create one of the most complex and expansive science fiction universes of modern times.
  4. Arkham Series – Every one of these games manages to encapsulate multiple eras of comic book feelings in a single game. Players get to tangle with Batman’s incomparable rogues gallery, and examine the reasons why Batman and his comics are the most psychologically potent of the genre.
  5. Bioshock Series – Although I am partial to the first story’s setting and villain, each one experimented with agency on the part of the player, making them unwittingly complicit in a Rand-ian tale filled with paranoia, fear, and the desire to give up freedom for a sense of control, all while appealing to the modern-day shoot-em-up crowd.

That’s all for now.

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