This page holds an incomplete list of games I have played.

Video games

In progress

  • Chants of Sennaar. An extremely impressive 81% of players have the Steam achievement for leaving the first game area, which I think tells you how gripping this game is. It’s basically a particular kind of IQ test, but it’s really fun. Reminiscent of Return of the Obra Dinn.

Not in progress

  • Baldur’s Gate 3 (hundreds of hours). Glorious game, aesthetically beautiful, absolutely gigantic amount of content, and sometimes succeeds at making you empathise with the characters. Having played this, I wouldn’t really want to go back to playing a DnD-style RPG any other way: all the bookkeeping happens in the background.
  • Factorio, and Dyson Sphere Program (both hundreds of hours). Grouped together because they are basically the same game. I have banned myself from playing this genre of game (I gave myself RSI from it for a while). Between the two, DSP is much prettier and somewhat more forgiving, but also it has the annoying mechanic of laying your factory out on spheres. “Cannot place blueprint across tropic lines” just feels bad; you really want your factory layout not to depend on where it is situated.
  • Outer Wilds (about half an hour). Everyone raves about this game, but it makes me travel-sick very fast. No further comment.
  • Human Resource Corporation, and 7 Billion Humans (25 hours total). As I’ve got older, games which are purely programming have become less appealing (that is, after all, my day job). These ones are visually pretty, but I have no idea how they’ll play for someone who is not a programmer.
  • Among Us (70 hours). I love this game (multiplayer social deduction), and am quite sad that everyone stopped playing it after the pandemic. Your first few games will be extremely hard if you’re an impostor, because your plausibility relies on being able to make up what you were doing where (which means you need to know the maps), but once you’ve got over that it’s just really fun.
  • Antichamber (2 hours). This makes me motion-sick really quickly, and I have only played it in ten-minute bursts. I imagine this would be very interesting if I could play it.
  • Baba Is You (68 hours). Cute puzzle game, with some extremely difficult puzzles. Mind-blowingly beautiful mechanics as you get towards the end. Tier 1. I played this with my housemates on a big screen and it was a great way to play!
  • Braid (9 hours). Lovely puzzle game, innovative, coherent; a classic Jonathan Blow game. See qntm’s write-up.
  • Classic Sudoku (135 hours) and Killer Sudoku (107 hours), by the Cracking the Cryptic team. A bunch of these puzzles are just really neat! A few are slogs, but many of them are cute, and I got the impression at the time that it might be quite a good introduction to advanced Sudoku techniques. The over-100-hours is because I have done each puzzle twice.
  • Death and Taxes (2 hours). Meh. Three years after playing it I can’t really remember it at all.
  • Disco Elysium (17 hours). Some of this game is pretty funny. I haven’t completed it, because it was getting to be a bit of a slog.
  • Dota 2 (thousands of hours). Deeply addictive. You will spend the first thousand hours or so completely sucking at this game, and improvement comes from recognising that you suck (thanks Purge for the framing on this). I stopped playing this game many years ago when I discovered that I didn’t actually enjoy it. My mechanical skill was pretty mediocre, so my specialist skill, inasmuch as I had one, was to bind together a team and keep morale up. A team of five coherent players will beat a team of five individuals any day of the week, and a team of five players will beat a team of four players plus a griefer, so an extremely valuable role is “keep your team feeling like a unit”. But it grinds away at the soul, and eventually I realised it isn’t fun.
  • Elsinore (7 hours). Intriguing and cute puzzle game: you’re playing Ophelia, caught in a time loop for several critical days in the setting of Hamlet. You gradually learn what happens when, and how you can act to change what happens. I haven’t finished this because it had a bit too much of the Shlemiel the Painter about it: as you solve milestones, you keep revealing more, but have to keep retracing the same steps anyway.
  • The Zachtronics games (Exapunks, TIS-100, Shenzhen I/O, Opus Magnum, MOLEK-SYNTEZ; excluding Infinifactory; a couple of hours). Again, like Human Resource Corporation, these games are purely programming, and I’m getting too old for that sort of thing to be a fun way to relax.
  • The House of da Vinci (and 2 and 3; 20 hours). These are all a bit too point-and-click linear for my liking.
  • Inscryption (15 hours). Interesting card game mechanic; intriguing metagame.
  • Islands of Insight (55 hours). Loads and loads of small puzzles, many of them Nikoli-like. Some are just quite annoying (“go to this place and hunt around”). Some are deeply absorbing. Very pretty aesthetics.
  • The Witness (55 hours). Good lord is this game amazing. It’s a superstimulus for the sense of discovering an insight. The game mechanics are all taught entirely without words, which is a brilliant trick if you can manage it.
  • The Looker (2 hours). Parody of The Witness. Some of it laugh-out-loud funny.
  • Loop Hero (25 hours, not all of which was me). Very playable roguelike.
  • Obduction (7 hours). I distinctly remember that when I was much younger I enjoyed Myst and friends. This was back in the days when I had the patience to read The Lord of the Rings, for example. Nowadays I suspect I just don’t have the attention span and/or patience. Obduction in particular requires a lot of walking around.
  • Offworld Trading Company (30 hours). I am terrible at this game, and find it deeply stressful, but it’s extremely compelling. The market mechanic is either very innovative or very innovatively phrased.
  • Oxygen Not Included (8 hours). I feel like I’m missing some fundamental part of this game. It feels like it should be some massive Factorio-like infinite world automation thing, but in practice I ended up doing an awful lot of micromanagement. Probably a skill issue.
  • Patrick’s Parabox (10 hours). Cute puzzle game. Mind-bending, innovative. Really good.
  • Portal (and 2, and the Reloaded mod; 35 hours in total). Classics, of course.
  • Return of the Obra Dinn (12 hours). Aesthetically beautiful game. When the main mechanic was introduced, I sat back in awe. You gradually get to have quite a good mental map of what’s going on here. Highly recommended.
  • Slay the Spire (hundreds of hours). Deep gameplay (extremely deep - check out Jorbs’s streams!). One of those games where it takes a while to realise just how bad at it you are; all your losses feel like luck, but actually this game is at least 80% skill.
  • Roguebook (23 hours). A variant of Slay the Spire. Aesthetically quite pleasing, but I didn’t find it as gripping as StS.
  • Subnautica (26 hours). Personally I am a wimp and found quite a bit of this game primally terrifying; so much so that I ended up watching a stream of the game past a certain point. I don’t much like the choice to phrase the story in terms of time pressure, when everything is actually triggered by reaching certain milestones. It’s pretty, though, and if I weren’t a wuss I’d definitely have played it to the end.
  • SUPERHOT (3 hours). This is the first-person shooter for the person like me who is terrible at first-person shooters! It’s more like a puzzle game than a shooter, but for the first time it made me feel like I had a game in the shooter genre that I could play!
  • Taiji (12 hours). This is a puzzle game much like The Witness but a bit worse (but still a great game!).
  • The Talos Principle (and 2; 35 hours total). Puzzle games with a skin of basic philosophy. Aesthetically beautiful; some very hard puzzles.
  • Torment: Tides of Numenera (40 hours, because I’ve played it twice). If you’re going to play an RPG, play Baldur’s Gate 3 instead. Torment is much less pretty and considerably smaller, but I did have fun playing it.
  • Understand (3 hours). Tiny puzzle game. Almost precisely an IQ test. Great fun.
  • We Were Here (and Too, and Together; a few hours total). Two-player co-op games. The in-game chat is really janky, so we just used Discord. I feel like these were nearly great games, but something just felt missing. A Baldur’s Gate 3 campaign completely supplanted this.

Board games

(This section is basically a placeholder for now.)

  • Agricola, one of my favourite games.