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Top 5 games of this generation: Rogan’s choices

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I never thought I’d say this, but there are too many good games. This is a good thing, naturally, but it has a serious downside: often, immediately after I’ve played enough of a game to review it, I simply delete it.

So the games that remain on my hard drive are, in one way or another, nefariously fantastic. Here are five of my favourites.

Mark of the Ninja

Ninjas are a tricky one. They’ve become pure pop-fodder, as everyday as infomercials – but they’re still cool, okay? And hardly anyone gets them quite right. Klei Entertainment got them right in the damn femoral artery with Mark of the Ninja; their fundamental act of genius was to make the game’s central systems transparent, giving you all the information you need to strategise but keeping it loose enough for things to go all catastrophe on your face. And it’s just so damned slick.

When did I know it was love?

That time all my careful planning went all to hell and I made it out alive by blinding a sniper with a dart, disorienting a guard with a smoke bomb and disappearing into the ventilation system, only to sneak up on the sniper from behind and ruin his otherwise pleasant evening? THEN.

 

Super Hexagon

D’y’know who’s a sadist? Terry “I Hate Your Species” Cavanagh, that’s who. Remember VVVVV? (Yes, I know I left out a V. I did it on purpose.) That game didn’t just compel me to rage-quit; it compelled me to rage-uninstall-and-leave-the-room-in-search-of-a-better-life.

So I approached Super Hexagon in much the way I’d approach a bear trap: I stumbled into it and blacked out. But in a good way, because of the endorphins.

Now I play it to relax. That’s right: one of the most frustrating games I’ve ever played is also one of the most calming. In fact, it’s beautiful.

When did I know it was love?

The moment I watched Terry Cavanagh himself finish the game on Hyper Hexagonest mode. This is like flying a fighter plane street-level through Vegas at Mach III. On mescaline. You should probably not ever challenge Mr Cavanagh to a knife fight.

 

Nuclear Throne

Is it cheating to include a game that’s still in beta? Do I care?

We haven’t covered Nuclear Throne (yet), but this action roguelike-like-lite (this needs to stop) is to top-down shooters what crack is to, well, things that aren’t crack. Despite the fact that it’s a work in progress, Nuclear Throne is bloody glorious – a gutsy, superkinetic gundown through hordes of enemies with some properly badass weaponry. Also: you can play as a katana-wielding chicken who can slow down time.

When did I know it was love?

The moment I pinned four mutants to the wall with a crossbow – a thing that has finally bested the Quake grenade launcher as the most satisfying pretend weapon ever.

 

Kentucky Route Zero

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The two acts of Kentucky Route Zero that have been released so far made me the best kind of sad. This is the game I show people who think games and literature are mutually exclusive; it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of fiction I’ve ever experienced, the end.

When did I know it was love?

I fell in love with Kentucky Route Zero by falling in love with its characters. This magical realism–infused tale is so heartfelt, so hurt and human, that it colours my thoughts for days after playing.

 

Torchlight II

I had a good bout of the pouting sniffles when Blizzard announced Diablo III would be always-effing-online. I still haven’t played the game, because just to hell with that shit.

But it was sort of like choosing to forgo bacon. Bacon.

Then Torchlight II arrived like a messiah wrapped in Bacon 3.0. Runic Games’ loot-guzzling, repetitive-strain-inducing clickfest gave me everything I wanted from a Diablo II sequel, and more. You could probably have powered a small town on the energy generated by the billionty-odd clicks I threw at the thing.

When did I know it was love?

Things just clicked, har har. Torchlight II is hardly revolutionary, but I didn’t want it to be – I wanted to swing a giant axe at a swag-bloated piñata zombie, preferably with friends. And that was exactly what I got.

 

Honourable mentions

Terraria, Don’t Starve and Braid. The reason they’re not in my top five? Because life is absurd.

  • Squirly

    Mark of the Ninja is soooooo on my list as well. Great game, whether we’re talking platformer or stealth or just plain awesome. “Awesome” is a genre, I say, and MotN falls square into that.

    • Rogan

      Awesome as a genre? Motion totally seconded.

  • Miklós Szecsei

    Man, I really need to play Mark of the Ninja now.

    • Rogan

      Absolutely. If I were forced at katana-point (or is that -edge?) to pick just one game from that list, it’d probably be Mark of the Ninja.

  • Alex Rowley

    Haven’t played a single game on this list, I feel like I should….

    • Rogan

      Too many good games =/

  • Pulseofthe Maggot

    Damnit! Too many games! Not enough time!

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