The Games I Love

My top games list is many years old. Here’s a new one limited to games I’ve played in the last 3ish years. Melee was my favorite game, and is perhaps the best game ever, but I’m not 8 anymore, and a game with that much single player content doesn’t hit the same way as when I was playing it fresh.

Also, don’t get the wrong idea. I just don’t play as many games as I used to. I spent the last year playing about 350 hours of Apex Legends instead. All the games on my original list might still be amazing; I just haven’t played them lately.

Pump It Up XX / Pump It Up Series / Stepmania

When I start to dance, I’m a movie star!

- Hairspray

Dance games are one of the only ways I can forget myself in this bitch of an Earth. No other game comes close. The two dance series listed here are essentially identical from game to game. All that changes is the visual theme, the UX, and the soundtrack. Pump It Up XX gutted some of my favorite tracks from its predecessor, Prime 2, but it has since filled them in with bangers, including the rare Pump tracks that are good enough to listen to outside of the game.

For non-practitioners, adding a fifth button to DDR doesn’t seem like it would change much. But it changes everything. It greatly widens the number of patterns that are available, makes doubles play like 10 times more interesting (since the pads connect in 2 spots instead of 1), and always feels like you gotta feel the song, rather than play it the “right” way. In DDR each foot will deal with 2 of the 4 panels. With 5 panels, you’re always short a foot, so you’re shifting between positions the whole song.

Getting super nitty-gritty, the timing window in Pump is wider than DDR. The bar for a “perfect” hit is lower, so the goal is really keeping a full combo of steps.

Super Metroid (with Control Freak hack)

Super Metroid is a nearly perfect game. With Control Freak, it is a perfect game. Control Freak cleans up the controls and stops the player from having to swap weapons as much.

  • Super Mario World

A Short Hike

If you like the laid-back parts of Animal Crossing, you should definitely play A Short Hike. A Short Hike builds on Animal Crossing without copying it. Like Animal Crossing, you chill out and do whatever. You talk to people and help them with their problems. Although it’s an open-world game with a small scope and a specific end, it has the same carefree attitude Animal Crossing has. I want this to be the basis for a game five times as big. I want Adam Robinson-Yu to consult on the next Animal Crossing. This is the third pillar of what Animal Crossing should be, alongside the first game and the Animal Crossing movie.

I know this is an Animal Crossing-heavy review, but I’ve been wanting more out of Animal Crossing for 15 years and this is finally it.

  • Katamari Damacy


I have like 1200 hours in Awesomenauts. I kept up really close bonds with two of my friends from high school even after we went to college and I crossed state lines. It’s the perfect balance of easy to pick up but hard to master. And if you’re really coordinated with your team, you can smoke the other team.

  • Super Monkey Ball 2

Dance Dance Revolution Extreme / DDR Series / Stepmania

As with Pump It Up, every DDR game has been the same since they added freezes. Extreme has a killer soundtrack of 90s-00s pop and the UI to match.


Super Metroid and Pikmin have a lot in common. Beating them once is great, but they get really fun when you re-play them and try to speedrun them. Super Metroid was intentionally designed to be speedran; Pikmin less so. But it’s still designed around a time limit and scoring system. While some glitches were never intended by the developers, they make the game more fun.

  • Super Monkey Ball

Pajama Sam 2: Thunder and Lightning Aren’t So Frightening

Hilarious satire of corporate life that gets truer the more time I spend in an office.

  • Apex Legends
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee
  • 3D Ultra Mini Golf Adventures 2
  • Team Fortress 2

Burnout Paradise

One of the most under-utilized games on this list. There isn’t a spiritual successor. Games like Forza Horizon don’t have the magic. Burnout Paradise understood that the WORLD of a driving game has to be fun. Races? Who the fuck cares about races? This is a DRIVING game, dammit. We’re hear to go fast and do phat drifts around curves.


Outside of the absolute bullshit hard mode (DO NOT PLAY HARD MODE), Downwell is basically a perfect game. Hard mode pissed me off so much I kept it off of my “10/10” list, but that wound has healed.