What (Artsy, Indie, Interesting) Computer Game Should I Play?
April 4, 2016 5:17 AM   Subscribe

I occasionally see interesting games being discussed here and then forget about them. Maybe we can assemble a list of the classics?

Not really interested in first person shooters; am interested in things bordering on interactive fiction (amongst other things). I hesitate to give examples as I've played very few games and don't want to restrict suggestions, but I enjoyed Goo and Fez.

Personally, I have a new computer with a fairly decent graphics card (960), running Linux, but I'm interested in any PC game.
posted by andrewcooke to Computers & Internet (34 answers total) 115 users marked this as a favorite
Some ideas:

Kentucky Route Zero
The Flame in the Flood
Just keep talking and nobody explodes.
Ori and The Blind Forest
The Stanley Parable
Her Story
Gone Home
Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist
Life Is Strange
80 Days
This War of Mine
The Talos Principle
posted by bluecore at 5:31 AM on April 4, 2016 [9 favorites]

Year Walk
posted by KernalM at 5:35 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Witness
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Papers, Please
posted by pipeski at 5:59 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
posted by dismas at 6:21 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Stardew Valley. Not sure just how many of your criteria out actually hits, but I am addicted to it. All the villagers have interesting little back stories as you get to know them. Abuse survivor, soldier returned from war, homeless guy. Not super in depth but finding out everyone's story has turned out to be my favorite part of the game.
posted by wwax at 6:26 AM on April 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

Don't Starve
Her Story
Mark of the Ninja
Papers Please
Superhot (a twist on a first person shooter!)
The Swapper
Thomas Was Alone
The Stanley Parable
FTL: Faster Than Light
The Long Dark
Stardew valley
posted by ellerhodes at 6:27 AM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Little Inferno is fantastic. Story, puzzles, and you get to light things on fire. :D
posted by getawaysticks at 6:51 AM on April 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seconding Braid.
posted by Betelgeuse at 7:06 AM on April 4, 2016

Botanicula - There's not much of a story, but it's beautiful. "Botanicula is a humor-filled [point and click] adventure game about five friends, little tree creatures who set out on a journey to save the last seed from their home tree which is infested by evil parasites."

Never Alone - So lovely. "Swapping between an Iñupiaq girl named Nuna and her Arctic fox companion, the player completes puzzles in a story based on Alaskan indigenous stories told in eight chapters."
posted by belladonna at 7:09 AM on April 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

posted by 4th number at 7:22 AM on April 4, 2016

Please, Don't Touch Anything is short but amazing in a bizzare kind of way.
80 Days is a steampunk travel planning, buy low sell high, butlering simulator. Nice art, neat conept, polished gameplay.

Seconding Stardew Valley, but be careful, it's seriously addictive. Imagine if Harvey Moon, Mine Craft, and Legend of Zelda had a baby. It's that good.
posted by cosmicbandito at 8:24 AM on April 4, 2016

Sunless Sea is slow-paced, atmospheric, full of text, and got ported to Linux recently.
posted by egregious theorem at 9:22 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Lumino City - A stunning and adorable point-and-click puzzler. All the graphics in the game were handmade out of paper, cardboard, and glue.
Limbo - A moody and beautiful platformer in shades of black and gray.
Dear Esther - A first-person exploration game that's gentle but tragic.
posted by Prunesquallor at 9:28 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Stanley Parable is kind of amazing. Seriously give it a look.
posted by uberchet at 9:51 AM on April 4, 2016

thanks for all the ideas so far. i just remembered details of one game mentioned on mefi - don't know if it is above already. it was a game on steam that involved coordinating / planning spies (iirc) that were infiltrating a plant of some kind. it was on steam and had a "cartoony" style in dark greys. does that ring a bell?

edit: actually, with that description, plus google, i think it's "invisible inc". and on reloading: yup.
posted by andrewcooke at 10:04 AM on April 4, 2016

it was on steam and had a "cartoony" style in dark greys. does that ring a bell?

Invisible, Inc.

edit: you self-answered. never mind!
posted by bluecore at 10:05 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Factorio is getting rave reviews on Steam and Reddit. I'm going to check it out myself before too long.

I've just started dipping my toes into Stardew Valley. It's certainly addictive and engrossing, but there are still a few bugs and other kinks that need to be worked out, so honestly, I'd let it gestate for awhile before you dive in. Thanks for starting this thread!
posted by Fister Roboto at 10:21 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


2nding Botanicula

Samorost 3 by the same design studio (it just came out but looks visually stunning).
posted by Twicketface at 11:02 AM on April 4, 2016

Grim Fandango is my favourite game of all time and it has recently been re-released. The Samorost games are a close second.
posted by Eumachia L F at 11:05 AM on April 4, 2016

2nding Factorio! It has quite a lot of depth, but doesn't take much to hit the ground running. I know a factory simulator sounds super boring, but the satisfaction you feel when things fit together nicely is like no other.
posted by LtRegBarclay at 11:08 AM on April 4, 2016

Somebody suggested it above, but Portal and Portal 2 might meet your criteria. They're first person 3D games, but there's no shooting people. They're both super entertaining and creative, and just flat out some of the most entertaining PC games ever made.
posted by cnc at 11:20 AM on April 4, 2016

Someone mentioned Lumino City; it's a sequel to Lume, both of which were recommended to me just last week (from someone who once put me on to Machinarium and Limbo-- I've got to forward him this thread now).

Lots of great choices here. Darn you all for beating me to the good ones!
posted by Sunburnt at 12:05 PM on April 4, 2016

The stuff I'd list has all already been mentioned, but ditto kentucky route zero, stanley parable, her story, gone home, firewatch, 80 days.
posted by juv3nal at 12:29 PM on April 4, 2016

A bit surprised this hasn't been suggested already, but To The Moon is very story-oriented and definitely worth checking out. I also personally really enjoyed Dust: An Elysian Tail which is a platformer but has excellent art and story, especially considering that it was largely made by a single individual.
posted by Aleyn at 12:45 PM on April 4, 2016

Also worth checking out are some of the old classic Adventure games. They aren't exactly indie, or necessarily artsy, but they're at least interesting, and tend to scratch that Interactive Fiction itch. My list here would go something like this (in no particular order, and there are lots I haven't played):
  • Myst and its sequels (Riven and Myst 3 Exile, especially)
  • Space Quest series
  • Secret of Monkey Island & Monkey Island 2
  • Really, most of the old Sierra or LucasArts adventure games are worth at least a look
  • Zork: Grand Inquisitor
Also, I forgot to mention this one in my first answer, but I really enjoyed Undertale; it has a bit of arcade-ish gameplay inside its RPG skin, so it can get a little frustrating, but IMHO it is very worth checking out.

Checking my steam library, here are a few more indy-ish games that might interest you:
  • Papo & Yo
  • Telltale Games adventure games - I've personally played Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, but I've heard good things about others they've done, like The Walking Dead.
  • Never Alone
  • The Dream Machine
  • Puzzle Agent
  • Ether One

posted by Aleyn at 1:06 PM on April 4, 2016

Seconding Undertale, with the remark that the soundtrack is worth putting on repeat for weeks after finishing the game, and it definitely pushes the boundaries of games as art.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 7:46 PM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

oh, i missed that from the list - sorry!
posted by andrewcooke at 2:41 AM on April 5, 2016

You should come back and give a trip report!
posted by dismas at 6:58 PM on April 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Thanks for doing the summary, it makes reviewing the list a lot easier.
posted by inbetweener at 3:42 AM on April 9, 2016

give a trip report

well, i just finished gone home (it was one of the view that's on available on linux). i enjoyed it, but i am not sure i was the "target audience" (i was more concerned with the parents' backstory than whether cool kid sis would make it out alive).

it was interesting to see how the "non-linear" exploration was adapted (abused? decoupled?) to give a rather traditional, linear story. i was surprised by the length of the credits (especially given what seemed to me to be pretty clunky graphics) and the price - i think i would have spent more time reading a similarly priced book.
posted by andrewcooke at 3:22 PM on April 9, 2016

earlier question on a similar theme that i missed until now.
posted by andrewcooke at 2:01 PM on April 11, 2016

psychonauts (mentioned here) seems like another candidate.
posted by andrewcooke at 11:51 AM on June 11, 2016

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