Video Games

Best Games of 2016 That No One Played

2016 saw a plethora of great games released. The indie scene is so massive at this point, that it’s impossible to keep up with the many high-quality games produced by small teams with no way to get their games out there except by word of mouth. Releases like 20XXFirewatchStardew ValleyPony Island, ABZÛ, OxenfreeINSIDEOrwellSalt and SanctuaryDevil Daggers, and the Witness all did pretty darn well for themselves — and that’s a lot of hours to devote to the year’s indie games — but what about the smaller titles? The titles obscured under Steam’s monstrous library of junk and more junk?

Below constitute my take-away for the year’s hidden gems: The neglected masterpieces (or fascinating ideas) that flew under most players’ radars. I expect most of these to, at the very least, show up as games #480-493 on many players’ wishlists and backlogs.

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Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

Mike Carey’s the Stranded and Faker (2007 – 2008)

The Stranded

a limited series of five issues (2007 – 2008)

Like 2005’s Spellbinders: Signs and Wondersthe Stranded is another of Carey’s paycheck stories. The Stranded is a five-issue adaptation of a script for a TV show pilot Carey worked on with Syfy back when it was the Sci-Fi Channel. The only front-cover quote states “…just might become the next great TV hit!” Nothing ever came of the show.

None of this really bodes well for expectations going in — and, not surprisingly, it mostly meets ’em at that low level.

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Book Reviews, Non-fiction

Alan Weisman’s the World Without Us (2007)

I’m judging Weisman’s work a little more harshly than most because I feel it’s too slim and simple on presenting its ideas. Everything from this book can be found in the readings for a single introductory college course on environmental ethics or resource management — all it adds, I feel, is the context suggested by the book’s gimmicky title.

That’s not to say simple can’t be excellent, but with how the World Without Us presents its info, it feels like Weisman did the bare minimum amount of research — as if his only source was a single introductory class or textbook filtered through a writer’s whimsy. E.g., he shies away from referencing original research, and instead cites news headlines inaccurately covering original research as his sources. E.g., he references a number of outdated terms or ideas, such as continental drift or, positively, “The cure for pollution is dilution.” (Ouch….)

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