zalack , (edited ) avatar

The Outer Wilds. IMO, non-violence-based gameplay design is an underexplored space, especially in 3-D games. The Outer Wilds manages to feel like a fully-fledged game, rather than a traditional walking simulator, using exploration as it's core gameplay loop.

Further, it's main progression system is you, the out-of-game player, learning about the world. There's no abilities you gain or keys you have to find. You unlock new areas, not as a programmed game mechanic, but as a function of reasoning about what you've discovered and gaining insight into how the game world works. Any playthrough could be beaten in about 15 minutes -- there's nothing physically blocking you from triggering the end of the game -- but it takes you 15 hours or so of flying around the solar system to accrue the necessary insight to get there.

It's really a special game.

azura ,

The music towards the end aaa

PepsiMax ,

And an amazing soundtrack to match the thrills and sadness of the journey. Dlc was awesome too.

atlhart , avatar

It’s a toss up for me between Outer Wilds and Subnautica. I found Outer Wilds after playing Subnautica and looking for something with the same feeling.

Anyone that liked Outer Wilds should also play Subnautica. Although the game play is more similar to No Man’s Sky (even though Subnautica is definitely much better than NMS)

MxM111 , avatar

The first Subnautica.

Bluu , avatar

I’m playing Subnautica for the first time right now, after hearing it was similar to Outer Wilds. I’m discovering I have a much bigger fear of vast open water than I do for space!

Gwaer ,

I'm so happy this is the top answer. The best game of all time imo. Needs more clones.

poo , avatar

I wish I had the guts to play it - the anxiety I got from the water-tornados and huge vast emptiness of space, the black hole - the game did such an amazing job at giving me an overwhelming sense of dread that I had to just stop playing. I consider that a compliment towards the game lol

currychaos ,

Hey, speaking as someone who hated all the planets (especially the a fog-ridden one I won't spoil)

Part of the reason why I fell in love with this game was the realization that nothing could ever really harm you. The anxiety I feel when exploring the water-tornado planet was always there -- slightly dampened by the understanding that nothing dangerous could ever happen. At most, I was flung up to space. Black hole? Don't worry, you'll just end up far away. I'm always anxious, always fearful. I had to learn to be with those feelings, instead of pushing them away.

This was outer wild's personal message to me: it's okay to feel scared or overwhelmed. It's okay to be crushed by narrowing tunnels or die of oxygen depravation or whatever else the universe can throw at you. You'll always be back in front of a crackling campfire. That's the safety that the game always guarantees you.

Honestly, with enough exposure to outer wilds, I tried doing black hole trick jumps and sometimes even drove my ship right into the tornados for fun.

I really hope you continue playing! This was one of the best games I'd ever played.

poo , avatar

You're the first person that actually makes me want to go back and give it another shot, thanks!

stillnotahero ,

I have never played The Outer Wilds, however your description makes the game sound similar to No Mans Sky. Is this a fair assumption?

zalack , (edited ) avatar

Beyond being set in space I would say they are pretty different. Outer Wilds is set in a single, hand crafted solar system. The planets are kind of "cutesy" and small. Like you can see the curve of the horizon when you are on each planet because they are each designed as spherical levels you are meant to explore most of.

The space flight mechanics are also pure Newtonian physics ala the Expanse, whereas the ships in no man's fly like planes, not rocket ships.

All that said. If you liked No Man's Sky I think there's a decent chance you'll like Outer Wilds.

Flaky_Fish69 , avatar

Original Myst was like that- you could technically beat the game inside of seconds- if you knew the answer. (Empty world where everyone was sealed inside books- you could free them by freeing one of two heirs. You had to decide which was the “right” heir.)

The puzzles left clues around the entire game to explain things unlocking puzzles

Bluu , avatar

Outer Wilds was such an awesome experience. I listen to the soundtrack sometimes and the emotions rush back, especially a few songs from the DLC.

TeaHands , avatar

Tried to get my now-husband to integrate the soundtrack into our wedding, but alas!

And for anyone reading this thread and thinking it sounds worth a try: a) do no further research, go in blind, very important and b) Outer Wilds is the one you want, not to be confused with The Outer Worlds.

Talaraine , avatar

Mass Effect. The one game I wish I could entirely erase my memory of and do it all again. <3

pienix ,

"You exist because we allow it, and you will end because we demand it"

It's been years since I've played ME, but this scene will never not give me chills...

Itty53 , avatar

I'm okay with giving it a once every two years run, that's enough to forget it enough to enjoy it all over. Leviathan is easily the best dlc made for any game, imo. Witcher e's blood and wine being a close second.

Parallax , avatar

Walking around the Citadel in Mass Effect 1 is one of my favorite gaming memories. It felt like I really was free to explore a giant space city. It felt so massive and open.

sabre3999 , avatar

Mass Effect is the only game I ever played where I read -every single entry- of lore in the encyclopedia. First game with achievements I did 100% on as well. I built my own Normandy models, even... both of the SR-1 and -2.

I hope ME4 is a return to form when it releases. I also hope the TV series I've heard about treats the franchise well... The story would do well as a prestige title IMO so I'll be super bummed if they don't do it justice.

Itty53 , avatar

Did you know there are books? They're alright. Nothing terribly earth shaking about em but they're fair.

whofearsthenight ,

Ocarina of Time.

Peacemeal12 , avatar

Ocarina fans know that this is the only correct answer. Lol

Scott ,

People that vote for Ocarina just couldn’t handle Majoras Mask.

CFinley97 ,

It's funny - I loooove Majora's, but I have to acknowledge the impact wouldn't be the same without OoT.

My answer is both of them bc they're such a package.

Kichae ,

Honestly, I just didn't like the hub-wield element of MM as much as the geography of Hyrule in OoT. It had much more interesting social quests, and combat was smoother, but it just wasn't what I was there for.

It probably didn't help that I didn't have a Memory Pak, and didn't get to play MM until I got the GCN Collectors Edition disc like 10 years after it originally came out.

Peacemeal12 , avatar

Despite Ocarina being my favorite game ever I still haven't beaten Majora...

That being said I respect anyone who favors it over Ocarina. It's incredibly imaginative, the way it takes Ocarina and spins it. I don't think we're going to ever see something like that in gaming again in a long time. It's really something special.

siv9939 , avatar

Elder Scrolls III Morrowind. Everything in that game feels so different than anything else, including the other Elder Scrolls.

FistfulOfStars , (edited ) avatar

Morrowind: Nix hounds, kwama, guar... Cities made from the husks of ancient crustaceans... Fast travel networks with time consequences based on the speed of the insect you're riding inside of. Insane lore that feels like a real religion... Are you the chosen one? Is there such a thing? Have you been "chosen" or are you choosing to make it happen? Ash ghouls.

Everything else: Deer, wolf, bear... Renaissance-era European architecture... Instantaneous fast travel with no basis in lore. Dragons.

I'll forgive the cliff racers.

HovringSquidworld97A ,

Great choice, Morrowind is incredibly well done. The mix of lore and mechanics made the world feel very real in-game. Being out in the sticks actually felt like being in the sticks.

Itty53 , avatar

Love the instructions too. No quest marker, I'm gonna give you vague directions, find it.

alternative_factor , avatar

Morrowind is my favorite too. Even all these years later I feel like I'm on a vacation in another world when I play it.

Romdeau4 , avatar

100% Morrowind. No fantasy game has come close to giving me the feeling of wonder and adventure that TES3 has. It’s been over 20 years and I still reinstall it once a year or so to roll a new character and find new things to do.

popekingjoe , avatar

Yeah Morrowind is so incredibly alien compared to the rest of the games. Everything is so weird and unique in the best possible ways.

WeLoveCastingSpelz ,

Morrowind really is something special

Litany , avatar


I love making efficient systems and the freedom to do things the way I want to, such as by using the game's alternate recipe system.

The exploration and movement systems in the game are also to notch. It's not quite Titanfall, but I struggle to think of any other game where simply moving around is so fun. That's on top of how pretty the actual environment is to explore.

kbity , avatar

Titanfall 2 is the most fun I've had with a video game. The movement is so amazingly fluid, it's like Quake or Unreal Tournament but with more verticality, and then there's the Titans themselves, which feel like awesome weapons of war, yet not insurmountable to a skilled pilot on foot. Everything from the gameplay balance to the mechanics to the visuals and sound design is incredible, and the single-player story was very touching and exactly long enough to satisfy you without overstaying its welcome. I'm gutted that we're probably never getting a Titanfall 3.

Itty53 , avatar

That game is like the gold standard of fps for me. There isn't a better game yet. That level, you know the one, the first time you play it is something kind of magic.

gms77 , avatar

Final Fantasy VII (the original)

blanketswithsmallpox , avatar

Final Fantasy 6 for me. The bad (mad) guy TRULY winning was just the coolest as a kid. It definitely tore apart my expectations for what a good game was ever since.

jherazob , avatar

I don't think I've played a game more than FF7 (well, Warhammer 40K Dark Crusade might have it beaten by now, not sure, along with the original Star Wars Battlefront games as a distant third), some things I did:

  • Omnislash on the first CD
  • Mastered all the Huge Materia until they split to new ones
  • Bred my golden chocobos until I had a superfast one that effortlessly won every race with a huge margin
  • Had a save where everyone was level 99 despite not needing it
  • Defeated all the Weapons of course

I feel I did even more things but it's been like 20 years, don't remember more...

Ragnell , avatar

Tetris. Tetris is the King.

smallaubergine ,

Gameboy or NES? NES was my jam

Ragnell , avatar

I liked NES better because it had color, but I had a Gameboy too.

MxM111 , (edited ) avatar

But the game is racist.

Ragnell , avatar

It is a product of its time.

IONLYpost , avatar

I will never in a million years connect "racist" with "tetris". What was that about?

Ragnell , avatar

There was an article about Kotaku using AI writers, and someone in the comments had ChaptGPT write an article about how Tetris is racist.

numbscroll , avatar


@GeekFTW @Ragnell I wish I had the link handy… this is referencing the person who asked ChatGPT to write an article about why Tetris is racist right? And the article is unsurprisingly terrible. I think all in response to Kotaku moving toward AI journalism.

MxM111 , avatar


Flanagax , avatar

Tetris doesn't count because it's not a video game.

It's a transcendental experience

vudu ,

I wouldn't live where I live if it weren't for Team Fortress 2. So I'll have to say that.

comedy , avatar

you live in 2fort?

Hyperreality ,

Skyrim because it's not just vanilla skyrim.

Vanilla skyrim is good, but skyrim is also modded skyrim.

Some of those mods are basically games in their own right. And not average games either. Enderal and The forgotten city have won awards and are genuinely great.

You can easily spend a thousand hours playing Skyrim and that's saying something for a game that doesn't rely on grinding or have an online mode.

Itty53 , avatar

Morrowind and Oblivion don't get enough credit. Skyrim stood on the shoulders of giants.

Hyacathusarullistad , avatar

Morrowind and Oblivion don't get enough credit.

This couldn't be more untrue. It's all but impossible to mention Skyrim in any gaming of gaming-adjacent space without someone bringing up how Morrowind or Oblivion were better.

Itty53 , avatar

Not better, just necessary the foundation of Skyrim.

I also don't need to defend bringing up a related game, that's just how conversations work.

a-man-from-earth , avatar

Skyrim for me as well. I have literally played thousands of hours. Mostly modded, making different builds. I think I only finished the main quest two times.

Amanduh ,

Stardew valley

SnowboardBum , avatar

Super Mario World

Canrith ,

Sid Meier’s Pirates! (originally on the C64)

ripcord , avatar

My favorite version is the original DOS one for some reason.

willisaguy ,

I would love to find a pirate game that captures the magic of this game. So simple, but so much fun!

Itty53 , avatar

Super Mario RPG

Lilkev , avatar

This is up there for me with Super Mario 64.

Yaenntz , avatar

I started with a super nes - super mario world will always be my game!

ChrisFhey , avatar

Tough choice as there are a lot of games I love, but I think I’d pick The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. It’s definitely my favourite in the Zelda series.

eu ,

Twilight Princess was my entry into the series and even though I probably wouldn't enjoy it today as much as I am enjoying TOTK (I am a sucker for open-world games) it is still is my favorite Zelda.

ChrisFhey , avatar

I replayed it not too long ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it still. Perhaps not as much as my first play-through, but then again, it’s nigh impossible to feel the same thing you feel when playing something for the first time.

e-ratic , avatar

Outer Wilds and 2nd place isn't even close

Rayspekt ,

I would've thought you'd say Space Cadet Pinball, lieutenant.

  • All
  • Subscribed
  • Moderated
  • Favorites
  • updates
  • random
  • tech
  • til
  • programming
  • testing
  • bitcoincash
  • marketreserach
  • drbboard
  • wanderlust
  • Sacramento
  • insurance
  • All magazines