Today on twitter, someone brought this article to my attention again:

Dark Matter is Basically a Mass Effect TV Show

I say again because I posted a link to the article when it first appeared back in July of 2016.  But rereading it got me to thinking.  I’ve never been a gamer only because I figure that once I start, I’ll be adding one more all-consuming hobby to my already jam-packed schedule.  As it stands, I don’t watch enough television (although I plan to rectify that with the following shows lined up on my Netflix queue: Dark, Trapped, The Five, Mindhunter, Trapped, Frozen Dead, and that British horror series about a Big Brother set overtaken by the zombie apocalypse), do I really want to add gaming to the mix?

The answer is yes!  But I need your input.  If you’re a gamer – and knowing me as well as you do – what game(s) would you recommend?  Let’s lean toward genre titles and give weight to those games that have yet to be adapted to the big or small screen.

Go!

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Bannister
Bannister

Tetris ? razz

(Mindhunter was a blast for what I’m concerned.)

BoltBait

All the old classic games have been done… check out the movie Pixels (2015) with Adam Sandler.

Bannister
Bannister

Rick Dangerous, then. ^^

David Kirby

I used to game, but gave it up years ago because it took over my life, so good for you for not starting.
Have you seen Travelers? I just discovered this fantastic show, and it’s good to see so many Stargate cast and crew involved.

shinyhula
shinyhula

Travelers is so good, lots of SG alumni on the cast of crew too.

Cassie Greutman
Cassie Greutman

Mass Effect is a given! Horizon Zero Dawn is amazing also. It isn’t set in space, but it’s here on Earth years after everything was destroyed. I can’t say much more without spoilers, but it may be the best game ever.

Jayenkai [JNK] (@Jayenkai)

I’m not much of Modern day Gamer.
I like my games to be in a fun happy family friendly style.
Mario and Zelda on Switch took up most of my 2017 game playing time.

Ironically, I also write games, at AGameAWeek.com, but those again tend to focus on the oldskool “gameplay comes first” style of gaming. Little or no story, just a Start button and an inevitable Game Over.

To me, a game should be a game, and a story should be a story/movie/tv.

Interactivity in stories leads to increasingly complex threads that never seem to come to a decent conclusion, or get shoehorned together in the last level.. Either that, or it’s a bland, uninteresting game, driven by a story.

Very rarely am I content when the two are combined.

Thogar

I’ve always been a big fan of Quake, Doom, and the Wolfenstein series of games. I also enjoy Myst, Obduction, and other lost-in-a-strange-world puzzlers. I’m not into multiplayer games because that involves other people and I game to escape the real world – and that’s where the people live.

Mostly I just like killing things FPS style. It helps relieve a lot of stress and probably says a lot about my psychological health, or lack thereof. Not that I care. smile

congotim
congotim

Have you tried The Last of Us?

scifirules
scifirules

A huge Myst fan and Obduction along with StarCraft and X-Beyond The Frontier

Anthony

Also played Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, etc, but my weakness was Unreal Tournament, especially UT2004, It started taking over any and all of my spare time, and sometimes I’d end up staying up til 6am playing non-stop. I was even in a league back when it was popular. There’s still a small community that plays online, but I realized as I started playing again, that it wasn’t relieving stress; in fact it was actually causing more stress. I was getting trapped in the same cycle again, so I just quit cold turkey and haven’t played since. There’s so many good new immersive games out that I’d like to try, but I find myself lacking patience these days. I might try Star Citizen if it’s ever officially released. smile

geekonrjosh

Last of Us is definitely one you’ll want to check out. Fantastic story, wonderful graphics, just a great game all around.

Assassin’s Creed Black Flag is another great one.

When it comes out, Detroit Become Human looks like it is going to be outstanding.

Andrew

I’d highly recommend checking out Breath of the Wild. It’s a fantastic game.

donovanz
donovanz

Horizon Zero Dawn
Bioshock
Mass Effect
Gears of War
Fallout
and…
Last of Us, this game is a masterpiece.

congotim
congotim

All of these are awesome. Horizon Zero Dawn is probably the best game of 2017. The others are series and require some commitment, but they are excellent games

Christian
Christian

Question for the mailbag (if you still field them):

How long have you and Paul been writing partners?

How is Paul doing since you’re no longer writing partners?

Have you already finished watching Stranger Things and what did you think about season 2?

Thanks for doing the mailbag!
Happy New Year Joe, Akemi, Suji, Lulu and everyone on the blog.

Art

Get Steam on your laptop, if you carry a laptop with you everywhere. Here’s why. Let’s say you get into a console, or several, and maybe you even get into a game franchise exclusive to that console. Ok, fine, more power to ya. But what if you can’t carry the console with you everywhere? Or you just want to travel light? Or you don’t enjoy the console’ shame selection, and you want more variety? Or any host of other issues consoles have? Keep your laptop close, check the Steam website, download their Steam client app on your laptop, and just browse through their site for any game(s) that look fun. Put some on your laptop (which you can download anywhere as long as you have Internet connection, and then you can play even when you don’t have that connection). You can now play these games anywhere, any time you want to. Just keep a USB controller nearby if you want console style gameplay (the Steam app should take care of the rest when you plug it up), and maybe keep an HDMI cable with your laptop if you want to plug into a big flatscreen tv for better visuals. The Steam client also has “Big Picture Mode” for playing on a television. (As an extra, while HDMI cables are handy, Steam/Valve also sell this thing called Steam Link that can link up wirelessly to smart TVs).

But, all in all, in short, get a laptop, get Steam on it, get a USB controller and HDMI (and/or Steam Link), then get some games, and toucan take this setup anywhere you want.

Thogar

Agreed. Steam is the way to go and their own controller is pretty nice. Plus, they’ll email you when games on your wishlist go on sale. That’s one of my favorite things about Steam.

Art

Agreed to all that too. The Steam Controller alone is cool to tinker with and figure out if you’re the kind of person who likes figuring out new gadgets.

There are other online game providers “like” Steam, but Steam is the one and only original, all the rest are copies or knock-offs who aren’t as good.

Game recommendation: for quick fun, laughs, and multiplayer with a buddy or 3, play Castle Crashers.

Nathan Dionne
Nathan Dionne

Forget Steam. I hate steam. Good Old Games is the way to go. None of this, “have to run the Steam client to play anything”, everything is drm free. I will admit though that Steam has the larger collection of games.

Art

Just because “YOU” hate Steam, doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy recommendation. Take your self-centered opinions and BS somewhere else. Stay off my comments.

Shana
Shana

Assassin’s Creed is a great game for exploring and fighting. You get to wonder around the world solving puzzles and taking out bad guys and good guys.

Lara Croft is another great game for exploring. There is not much fighting in the older games, they focus more on solving puzzles. In the newer renditions there is still exploration and puzzle solving, but you are also fighting for your life.

Any of the Lego games. They cover Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel and DC comics, Indian Jones and more. The concept of the game is you solve puzzles through out each level in a world. This earns you extra characters and abilities; Both of which are need when you go back to play through the levels again to complete them. They are very laid back and light hearted and good to play with a partner.

Now if you don’t mind older games:

Psychonauts is a PS2 game and is an absolute blast. It’s about a kid named Raz who runs away from the circus so that he can stole away at psychic summer camp for kids. It is completely bizarre and hysterical. My roommate was playing this game when I came home and I stood there for about 10 minutes trying to figure out what the heck the game was about. She was battling something in a land of meat and I was very confused. Something happened and I remember saying “what the hell was that?” just as I finished saying it Raz says “What the hell was that?” I was sold, as soon as she was done I started playing.

“The adventures of cookie and cream” is another really good PS2 game but requires a partner to play. It about two bunnies trying to get from point a to point be. The screen is split in two vertically and there is a player on each side. Bunny 1 must do things on his side of the screen to allow Bunny 2 to move forward and vise versa. It can be a true test of friendship at times especially in the later levels. But I like the concept of having to rely on partner to work out the problem together.

DElena
DElena

cutie, and I would look how you play

congotim
congotim

If you have a Playstation 4, I stand behind The Last of Us being on of the greatest stories told in gaming. It has heart and emotion. There is a 95% chance you’ll tear up in the first hour (and a 5% chance you are dead inside…) and the acting is phenomenal. Ennis Esmer’s current co-star, Ashley Johnson, is one of the two main characters and she does a fantastic job. Aside from great storytelling and action, the game is beautiful. It was actually one of the last games released on the PS3 before the shift to PS4 and the graphics were off the charts at that time. They remastered it for the PS4 and it’s superb.

The plot revolves around a man and a young girl trying to survive in a world that has been ravaged by a virus based on the Cordyceps fungus that does, in reality, exist and attacks ants. This virus turns humans into varying degrees of zombie like monsters. The man, Joel, and the girl, Ellie, are on a mission to get her across the country to a research station. Ellie, as it turns out, is immune to the Cordyceps infection, making her the most important person on the planet.

I cannot state enough how amazing Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson are in this game. The surrounding cast is also spectacular, but you will absolutely cherish your time with these two characters. If you can make the time, roughly 15-20 hours, it’s well worth it. This game is up there with LOST and Dark Matter for me. I revisit these worlds at least once a year, if not more, because the characters resonate so well with me.

Drea

Hey Joe. Our Jeff T is a gamer. You might ask him for some recommendations too. I’m sure he’d more than welcome and appreciate being called on for his knowledge. Hope you’re keeping warm and well rested at your moms.

Hugs to all always xo

Jasoncrazylegs
Jasoncrazylegs

Don’t play Skyrim; you will start speaking with a Nordic accent and will get nothing done. It was created by the same company that did Fallout (Bethesda). It’s brilliant; open world where you can interact with just about every facet in the environment, then smash it with a hammer and set it on fire.

shinyhula
shinyhula

I am obsessed with Call of Duty’s zombie 80’s movie homage game, it’s a beautiful mash up of John Carpenter, MTV and Walking Dead. You don’t get to choose your character; you could enter the game as a valley girl, rapper or classic nerd, but you all have to work together to defeat zombies. It’s silly fun and crazy intense, but I’m horrible at playing the game myself.

I also loved Life is Strange, Gray Matter and the Blade Runner game, I love PC games that let you get lost in a big world. I hardly play anymore but my favorite is Gray Matter, Jane Jensen wants to make that into a tv series. https://youtu.be/-hA3tlz8Mgo

Alan Mascall
Alan Mascall

Gears of War – good story line, bad ass CoG’s (good guys) aliens you hate

Mike Leeling
Mike Leeling

Given your interest in comics/novels there are the rocksteady Batman games (Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, Arkham Origins and Arkham Knight), for future scifi there are the excellent Deus Ex games (set in tge near future where people are augmented with technology and there is a vast conspiracy to take over and a fight for the rights of augmented people, etc) if you like sword, magic and monsters there is The Witcher trilogy based on the novels of a polish fantasy authors (which have won all sorts of awards)

Crazyboy
Crazyboy

“Life is Strange”. Great story, brilliant characters, beautiful artistic style and cinematics, and an incredible detail world with many obvious and subtle motifs. There are also a lots of cultural references to literature, TV shows and photography that the developers were fans of.

Line Noise
Line Noise

I’m what you would call a “casual gamer” for exactly the reasons you list. Life is too crammed with other stuff to devote a lot of time to games. I fear that if I start an RPG it’s a rabbit hole I will not be emerging from. Because I only dip into games occasionally (cumulatively maybe only one to two hours a week) anything with a strong narrative is a waste. My memory is so bad I can’t remember anything that happened last week and I want to get stuck into playing, not watching cutscenes. As a result, I tend to play puzzle games where I can fire it up, solve a couple of puzzles, then stop. Here’s some of my favourite games I played last year: The Witness – A first person puzzle solver. You wake up on a mysterious island with no memory of who you are or how you got there. As you wander around the island you find statues of people in odd poses and recording devices with quotes from philosophers and scientists. But mostly you find increasingly difficult logic puzzles to solve simply by drawing lines on the screen. Why are you on the island? What do the statues mean? What happens when you finally solve all the puzzles? This was my favourite from last year. I’ve spent over 42 hours on it. Don’t expect much of a story but if you like solving logic puzzles it’s awesome! The artwork and design are gorgeous but you need a beefy graphics card to get the full effect. It is very playable on lesser graphics, though. It’s available on Steam for Mac and Windows and the Apple Store for iPhone. Hue – A puzzle platformer. You discover a device that allows you to change the colour of your world from the normal black and white. You can make elements in the world appear and disappear by matching the background colour to the colour of the objects. By doing this you can move around the world in search of your mother. If you like platform games you’ll love this one. It’s available on Steam for Mac, Windows and Linux (hurrah!). Day Of The Tentacle Remastered – A classic point-and-click adventure. I played the original back in 1993. Tentacles are taking over the world and in order to stop them you play as three different characters in three different time periods. This game was hilarious to my young self and, while my sense of humour might have matured in the last 24 years, I still really enjoyed playing this game again. I’d also forgotten how hard some of the puzzles were! Steam. Mac, Windows, Linux, etc. Firewatch – A first person mystery. You take a job as a fire warden in the Wyoming wilderness. You’re alone other than another warden on the end of the radio. The game is quite linear with a few moments of genuine tension. It only took me about 5 hours to play (giving rise… Read more »

Tyler F.M. Edwards

For a first time gamer (or anyone, really), I highly recommend an indie game called Oxenfree. It’s a purely story-based game, so it doesn’t matter what your relative skill level is, and it’s a great game. Hard to nail down in terms of genre; it’s probably closer to horror than anything else, but it’s more creepy and surreal than genuinely scary. It’s pretty short, so it won’t take up too much time, and it features excellent voice-acting, an amazing soundtrack, and beautiful stylized graphics.

I’ll also second Portal and Portal 2. The puzzle gameplay is easy to pick up, but still challenging, and the humour is brilliant. They’re also, again, fairly short, so won’t tax your schedule too much.

If you feel like going old school, one of the greatest game ever made is No One Lives Forever, which is a spoof of/love note to the spy craze of the 1960s. It’s incredibly clever and full of humour and sass. You can’t buy it anymore, but fans have made a “revival edition” that works on modern systems and can be downloaded for free. Highly recommended.

Something else to look into might be episodic games, which tend to be short and story-driven. TellTale’s Batman series is fantastic — a really fresh take on the mythos with some interesting twists on the old characters — and Bear With Me is hilarious and surreal if you’re interested in a good hard-boiled teddy bear detective noir/thriller/mystery/comedy/thing.

I love the Mass Effect series, and they have great stories, but they are quite long, so keep that in mind. Also, the first game has some pretty wonky game mechanics, so it might not be the best option for someone new to video games. You could jump straight to Andromeda (the most recent installment) if you prefer, as it more or less reboots the story and is a bit more playable.

Also, as much as I love both Dark Matter and Mass Effect, I can’t say I see them as being very similar. They both have great characters, but the resemblance pretty much ends there. Mass Effect is more like if Star Trek: The Next Generation was a video game. Shiny happy people maintaining order in their shiny happy future. Andromeda is more adventurous, though; feels a bit like SG:U, though with a much more optimistic bent.

I’m not sure I’d recommend an MMO for someone with limited time, but I’d also like to note that the first companion character bounty hunter players get in Star Wars: The Old Republic is pretty much exactly Five. Bright, optimistic orphaned tech genius. All she’s missing is the blue hair.

Chris Soyangco (@csoy13)

With so many great recommendations, I must add that the Uncharted series is very much worth checking out, and I am looking forward to the new Spider-Man. As for mindless body count, I like to lose myself in any of the Dynasty Warriors game, but those are pretty much all the same.

sylvia
sylvia

I’m back in the dark ages. Very much prefer CD/DVD load the game to my puter and play. Not fond of the stuff on-line, especially when there are in-game purchases IF…you want to make progress or succeed.

Prefer the RTS – over FPS. Found that in my old age the FPS sometimes create dizzies/disorientation.

Favs over years – Command & Conquest, the ancient DUNE original and they had one upgrade that was decent.

Not same league, but HATE candy crush again because of the in game purchases. You know that realllllly adds up.

Rather spend money on books. OR…if they bring back something like my old age loves…sigh.

Nathan Dionne
Nathan Dionne

Check out Good Old Games. They have a great collection of older games, all of which can be played offline.

Angryjo
Angryjo

Last of us

Matahus
Matahus

Skyrim or Fallout 3 or Fallout New Vegas