Games I Like That You Might Like

This is a list of some games I like that you might like if the kinds of games you like are the kind of games that I like too.

Things that are great about One Finger Death Punch
1) It’s better than Destiny and I can prove it. 
2) Well, I can’t prove it, but when you’re downloading the Destiny beta and you load up One Finger Death Punch for something to do while you wait, forgetting that the 360 doesn’t let you do that, and the Destiny beta stops downloading, you think ‘who cares, I’ve got One Finger Death Punch’ and then just play that all day instead. And that’s sort of proof.
3) There are few games that have a better sense of what’s important for them. OFDP wastes no effort on the things that don’t matter for it, and spares no effort on the things that do. Animation, level design, character art, UI aesthetic etc are junk. UI clarity, sound effects, control tuning etc are demonstrably perfect. 
4) If you loved the way Guitar Hero opened a window into your brain, letting you spectate as your subconscious pulled off stunts your conscious mind could barely keep up with, but had that ecstasy constantly ruined by a fear that Guitar Hero was an obedience test not a proper game, then good news: OFDP is for sure a game, and for sure a window into your subconscious’ serene mastery of thwacking giant throwing stars into enemies you thought you hadn’t seen yet. And I’m pretty sure I read a thing somewhere that proved it was better than Destiny. 

Things that are great about One Finger Death Punch

1) It’s better than Destiny and I can prove it. 

2) Well, I can’t prove it, but when you’re downloading the Destiny beta and you load up One Finger Death Punch for something to do while you wait, forgetting that the 360 doesn’t let you do that, and the Destiny beta stops downloading, you think ‘who cares, I’ve got One Finger Death Punch’ and then just play that all day instead. And that’s sort of proof.

3) There are few games that have a better sense of what’s important for them. OFDP wastes no effort on the things that don’t matter for it, and spares no effort on the things that do. Animation, level design, character art, UI aesthetic etc are junk. UI clarity, sound effects, control tuning etc are demonstrably perfect. 

4) If you loved the way Guitar Hero opened a window into your brain, letting you spectate as your subconscious pulled off stunts your conscious mind could barely keep up with, but had that ecstasy constantly ruined by a fear that Guitar Hero was an obedience test not a proper game, then good news: OFDP is for sure a game, and for sure a window into your subconscious’ serene mastery of thwacking giant throwing stars into enemies you thought you hadn’t seen yet. And I’m pretty sure I read a thing somewhere that proved it was better than Destiny. 

Things that are great about rRootage:
1) In 2002 there was no better games machine than a chipped Xbox. Only a fraction of the 999 games that would eventually be release for the system had shown up by then - and of those, there were not enough Halos and too many Tazes and Azuriks. But a chipped box mean the taste of the future that was XBMC. It meant SNES emulation a button press away. It meant the first wild stirrings of an indie scene reborn. It meant rRootage. 
2) I’m not kidding about that indie scene reborn thing. Bennet Foddy has spoken compellingly about how indie games have been a consistent, unceasing element of the videogame scene from its earliest days, but there’s no denying that in the early 2000s that world felt pretty distant. Looking back at early IGF winners is a slightly spooky experience - I can’t say I remember Bad Milk or Banja Taiyo, The arrival of games that felt like videogames - proper, fizzy, bad-for-you, never-seen-before videogames - was narcotically exciting. I remember the cascade of astonishment that started with clicking an anonymous looking link and ended with playing things like Samarost and Knytt on my work computer for free.
3) And then rRootage was all of that, but bolted together from the skeletons of three venerable shooters (Ikaruga, Giga Wing and Psyvariar), and playable on a magic black box that could serve up Yoshi’s Island as easily as episode one of some weird TV show about a Baltimore cop with a slightly unconvincing American accent that you’d laboriously downloaded from Usenet. 
4) Oh, and yeah, running the rulesets for those different games through the same shooter engine is another perfect, playable game design masterclass, giving you a perfect glimpse of the skull beneath the skin; the collisions behind the kayfabe. Those are the things that are great about rRootage. 

Things that are great about rRootage:

1) In 2002 there was no better games machine than a chipped Xbox. Only a fraction of the 999 games that would eventually be release for the system had shown up by then - and of those, there were not enough Halos and too many Tazes and Azuriks. But a chipped box mean the taste of the future that was XBMC. It meant SNES emulation a button press away. It meant the first wild stirrings of an indie scene reborn. It meant rRootage. 

2) I’m not kidding about that indie scene reborn thing. Bennet Foddy has spoken compellingly about how indie games have been a consistent, unceasing element of the videogame scene from its earliest days, but there’s no denying that in the early 2000s that world felt pretty distant. Looking back at early IGF winners is a slightly spooky experience - I can’t say I remember Bad Milk or Banja Taiyo, The arrival of games that felt like videogames - proper, fizzy, bad-for-you, never-seen-before videogames - was narcotically exciting. I remember the cascade of astonishment that started with clicking an anonymous looking link and ended with playing things like Samarost and Knytt on my work computer for free.

3) And then rRootage was all of that, but bolted together from the skeletons of three venerable shooters (Ikaruga, Giga Wing and Psyvariar), and playable on a magic black box that could serve up Yoshi’s Island as easily as episode one of some weird TV show about a Baltimore cop with a slightly unconvincing American accent that you’d laboriously downloaded from Usenet. 

4) Oh, and yeah, running the rulesets for those different games through the same shooter engine is another perfect, playable game design masterclass, giving you a perfect glimpse of the skull beneath the skin; the collisions behind the kayfabe. Those are the things that are great about rRootage. 

Things that are great about Home Run Battle:
1) Remember how amazingly good the Space Baseball game in Rhythm Tengoku felt? This doesn’t feel as good as that. 
2) But it *reminds* you of how amazingly good the Space Baseball game in Rhythm Tengoku felt, and I will take that every time. 
3) It’s maybe the only tilt control game (with apologies to TxK’s intra-level tilt bonus challenge) that I don’t consider a blight on humanity, which is why Home Run Battle has been on every phone I’ve had since 2009.
4) It’s a masterclass in why score design is important. There are two modes: classic and arcade. In classic you get one point for a home run, an out for anything else, ten outs and it’s game over. Arcade mode is *exactly the same game* (hit home runs for high score, ten outs is game over), and is *an entirely different game*, thanks to combo runs, ball targets, hazard bonuses. In classic mode there are only two outcomes on every ball you hit. In arcade it’s thousands. 
5) You know how good getting a better gun in whatever shootery game you like best feels? Getting a better bat feels every bit as good as that. 

Things that are great about Home Run Battle:

1) Remember how amazingly good the Space Baseball game in Rhythm Tengoku felt? This doesn’t feel as good as that. 

2) But it *reminds* you of how amazingly good the Space Baseball game in Rhythm Tengoku felt, and I will take that every time. 

3) It’s maybe the only tilt control game (with apologies to TxK’s intra-level tilt bonus challenge) that I don’t consider a blight on humanity, which is why Home Run Battle has been on every phone I’ve had since 2009.

4) It’s a masterclass in why score design is important. There are two modes: classic and arcade. In classic you get one point for a home run, an out for anything else, ten outs and it’s game over. Arcade mode is *exactly the same game* (hit home runs for high score, ten outs is game over), and is *an entirely different game*, thanks to combo runs, ball targets, hazard bonuses. In classic mode there are only two outcomes on every ball you hit. In arcade it’s thousands. 

5) You know how good getting a better gun in whatever shootery game you like best feels? Getting a better bat feels every bit as good as that. 

Things that are great about TxK
1) The PlayStation port of Tempest 2000 is how come I passed my final university exams. I’d get up an hour early, and kneel 18 inches from the TV screen, basking in a world where worrying about anything other than oh god SPIIIIKKES was impossible. I swear it sent me in to the exam room with an unfair advantage: hardwired high on adrenalin, exploding like a Tanker into a million laser beams and also some pithy observations about the causes of the Second Opium War.
2) The new Vita version is just flat-out funny. I don’t always gel with Jeff Minter’s aesthetics, either visual or comedic, but SuperTapper Recharge? That shit is gold.
3) The warp tokens reminded me then and now of a Quality Street green triangle.
4) I still think it’s maybe the prettiest game I’ve ever seen. STRAIGHT LINES and COLOURS make me swoon more than any sunset or mountain vista.
5) If games are always about some kind of resource management, then the resource in Tempest is maybe just knowing which way up is. There isn’t time for conscious strategy. Your brain is too busy reconstructing the retina burn of the far end of the web that disappeared off screen a millionth of a second ago ,so that somehow when you sweep back you’ll know not just where everything was but where it is now and then it won’t be there any more because ZAP. 

Things that are great about TxK

1) The PlayStation port of Tempest 2000 is how come I passed my final university exams. I’d get up an hour early, and kneel 18 inches from the TV screen, basking in a world where worrying about anything other than oh god SPIIIIKKES was impossible. I swear it sent me in to the exam room with an unfair advantage: hardwired high on adrenalin, exploding like a Tanker into a million laser beams and also some pithy observations about the causes of the Second Opium War.

2) The new Vita version is just flat-out funny. I don’t always gel with Jeff Minter’s aesthetics, either visual or comedic, but SuperTapper Recharge? That shit is gold.

3) The warp tokens reminded me then and now of a Quality Street green triangle.

4) I still think it’s maybe the prettiest game I’ve ever seen. STRAIGHT LINES and COLOURS make me swoon more than any sunset or mountain vista.

5) If games are always about some kind of resource management, then the resource in Tempest is maybe just knowing which way up is. There isn’t time for conscious strategy. Your brain is too busy reconstructing the retina burn of the far end of the web that disappeared off screen a millionth of a second ago ,so that somehow when you sweep back you’ll know not just where everything was but where it is now and then it won’t be there any more because ZAP. 

Things that are great about Hanabi:
1) It shares its name with one of my favourite ever movies.
2) It’s about fireworks.
3) It’s a co-operative card game that’s actually co-operative. It’s sort of multiplayer solitaire, except everyone has a hand of cards that they hold facing the wrong way, so everyone else can see them but they can’t. Thusly, everyone knows what everyone else has, but not what they’ve got. You take it in turns play cards blind, trying to complete a firework sequence, with nothing to go on but the carefully constructed hints of other players: ‘You have three greens.’, ‘This card is a four’ etc. 
4) Everyone has a hand of cards that they hold facing the wrong way. 
5) Giving someone a hint about what’s in their hand costs a token. You don’t have enough tokens. Not now, not ever. Rarely has a game laid so bare the truth that knowledge is power. 
6) If you’re a nutcase, you can spend $100 buying a fancy mahjong style deluxe set, which seems to defeat some of the glory of point 4 above, but does look basically badass. I know which Takeshi Kitano would choose. 

Things that are great about Hanabi:

1) It shares its name with one of my favourite ever movies.

2) It’s about fireworks.

3) It’s a co-operative card game that’s actually co-operative. It’s sort of multiplayer solitaire, except everyone has a hand of cards that they hold facing the wrong way, so everyone else can see them but they can’t. Thusly, everyone knows what everyone else has, but not what they’ve got. You take it in turns play cards blind, trying to complete a firework sequence, with nothing to go on but the carefully constructed hints of other players: ‘You have three greens.’, ‘This card is a four’ etc. 

4) Everyone has a hand of cards that they hold facing the wrong way

5) Giving someone a hint about what’s in their hand costs a token. You don’t have enough tokens. Not now, not ever. Rarely has a game laid so bare the truth that knowledge is power. 

6) If you’re a nutcase, you can spend $100 buying a fancy mahjong style deluxe set, which seems to defeat some of the glory of point 4 above, but does look basically badass. I know which Takeshi Kitano would choose. 

Things that are great about Ascension: Chronicle Of The Godslayer
1) Not the sub-title. I accept that it’s a bit overwrought. 
2) Especially since Ascension isn’t a game about godslaying. It’s a game about shopping. It’s kinda almost a game about couponing. Seriously, when you think about it, what’s discarding a Fanatic during a Mechana event other than cashing in a $2 off coupon on constructs? Exactly.
2) Each card is such a tight, distinct unit of meaning that there is a strong case to be made for replacing the flim-flam of Tarot with the acute, interlocking truths that surface in an Ascension deal. 
3) The UI may look cluttered and clogged, but it’s actually so functionally streamlined that Ascension is weirdly good fun to play with three-year-olds. 
4) Don’t by fooled. It really is a game about shopping, but it’s not a game about buying cards. It’s a game about buying components. Every match is a mini Great Egg Race - what’s the best machine you can build in the time you have with the things you’ve got? 
5) It’s a masterclass in What Computers Are Good For, which in this case is ceaseless, benevolent, meticulous arbitration. It’s like getting to play an awesome boardgame with your mum riding shotgun, if your mum was nice, didn’t have a million other things to do and wasn’t secretly rooting for your sister to win.  

Things that are great about Ascension: Chronicle Of The Godslayer

1) Not the sub-title. I accept that it’s a bit overwrought. 

2) Especially since Ascension isn’t a game about godslaying. It’s a game about shopping. It’s kinda almost a game about couponing. Seriously, when you think about it, what’s discarding a Fanatic during a Mechana event other than cashing in a $2 off coupon on constructs? Exactly.

2) Each card is such a tight, distinct unit of meaning that there is a strong case to be made for replacing the flim-flam of Tarot with the acute, interlocking truths that surface in an Ascension deal. 

3) The UI may look cluttered and clogged, but it’s actually so functionally streamlined that Ascension is weirdly good fun to play with three-year-olds. 

4) Don’t by fooled. It really is a game about shopping, but it’s not a game about buying cards. It’s a game about buying components. Every match is a mini Great Egg Race - what’s the best machine you can build in the time you have with the things you’ve got? 

5) It’s a masterclass in What Computers Are Good For, which in this case is ceaseless, benevolent, meticulous arbitration. It’s like getting to play an awesome boardgame with your mum riding shotgun, if your mum was nice, didn’t have a million other things to do and wasn’t secretly rooting for your sister to win.  

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Things that are great about Earth Defense Force 2025

1) Why did you get married? This is not a question you were expecting me to ask. It was not a question I was expecting Earth Defense Force to ask, and yet it did. What I can say is, if I am ever asked that question for real, I hope I get to answer it while strafing a dozen ecstatic rockets into a stampede of mountainous spiders, because that is when I am my best me. 

2) EDF 2025 honestly has the best story of any game I’ve played this year, in that the story of EDF 2025 is ‘the GIANT ANTS are back aaaaaaaaa wait what that ROBOT IS HUGE oh god’. I don’t mean that that’s the player experience: that is the formal, expressed narrative of the game. 

3) Once it’s obvious you’ve exhaustively unlocked all the weapons you’ll get an achievement that says you’ve unlocked 10% of all the weapons. 

4) It’s great in local co-op! This is not a fun fact, but a useful truth. 

5) Some games believe in less is more. Some games believe in more is more. This game takes a lean, restrained palette and then conjures vast combinatorial chaos out of it, making it the most secretly sophisticated game I’ve ever played. 

6) the GIANT ANTS are back aaaaaa wait what that ROBOT IS HUGE oh god

Things that are great about OlliOlli:

1) It’s a game where you *stop pressing* a button to jump and *press a button* to land. It’s a game that has an unjump button. How bout that?

2) It has maybe the best peripheral-vision-friendly UI I’ve ever seen, which it accomplishes by having big stripes of informative colour in all the right corners.

3) It has big stripes of informative colour in all the right corners.

4) It’s made by Roll7, whose heritage is the kind of things that more game studios’ heritage should be in, which is to say trucks and music and social activism and mind control.* 

5) There is in infinite calm space to be found in the moment before you successfully press the unjump button, but after you’ve sent the signal to your unjump finger, and while it may be demonstrably true that that interval lasts for some hundreths of seconds, it feels like the best beach holiday you ever had. 

Things that are great about Flipnic.
1) It’s an enjoyable simple-action amazing pinball game for you!
2) No really, it is. 
3) Which is to say, it was a crazily ambitious pinball game with kill-cam zooms that pulled you deep into playfields made of neon fuzz and abstract geometry, inhabited by rhinos and flamingos and patrolled by UFOs. 
4) It’s a beautiful representative of that terribly fleeting bit of the PS2’s lifespan, when there was a stream of software that knew how to be whimsical without being infantile, and grown-up without being realistic, and nostalgic without being derivative, and colourful without being saccharine. I miss you, 2003. 

Things that are great about Flipnic.

1) It’s an enjoyable simple-action amazing pinball game for you!

2) No really, it is

3) Which is to say, it was a crazily ambitious pinball game with kill-cam zooms that pulled you deep into playfields made of neon fuzz and abstract geometry, inhabited by rhinos and flamingos and patrolled by UFOs. 

4) It’s a beautiful representative of that terribly fleeting bit of the PS2’s lifespan, when there was a stream of software that knew how to be whimsical without being infantile, and grown-up without being realistic, and nostalgic without being derivative, and colourful without being saccharine. I miss you, 2003. 

Things that are great about Magic Pengel:
1) It’s a game where you draw things and they come to life which is a) nearly 10 years old and b) pre-touch screen. The way the control scheme conceptualises brushes (brushes have *depth* as well as shape) is proper genius. 
2) It was produced in collaboration with Studio Ghibli, so it is very, very full of prettiness. 
3) It had a *lovely* intuitive system where the shape (fat, thin, spindly, squat) and the colour of the thing you drew affected its stats and powers. 
4) The scissors-paper-stone battle mechanic had a neat little ‘charge’ addition, which I constantly rip off in my own work
5) The best creature I ever made was a picture-perfect Dreamcast, who attacked with his controller-bolas and allowed me to purge a thousand mental demons by seeing the ‘Dreamcast wins!’ screen over and over again.

Things that are great about Magic Pengel:

1) It’s a game where you draw things and they come to life which is a) nearly 10 years old and b) pre-touch screen. The way the control scheme conceptualises brushes (brushes have *depth* as well as shape) is proper genius. 

2) It was produced in collaboration with Studio Ghibli, so it is very, very full of prettiness. 

3) It had a *lovely* intuitive system where the shape (fat, thin, spindly, squat) and the colour of the thing you drew affected its stats and powers. 

4) The scissors-paper-stone battle mechanic had a neat little ‘charge’ addition, which I constantly rip off in my own work

5) The best creature I ever made was a picture-perfect Dreamcast, who attacked with his controller-bolas and allowed me to purge a thousand mental demons by seeing the ‘Dreamcast wins!’ screen over and over again.