Ode to Indie Games

Reviewing my most-played, most-loved games of the year

Pax Ahimsa Gethen

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Screenshot with heading “funcrunch’s Steam Year in Review 2023”, text “13 Games Played”, “30 Achievements”, “469 Sessions “, 6 New Games”. Under text “Your Most Played Games by % of Playtime” are images for: Terraria (51%), Stardew Valley (23%), Oxygen Not Included (16%), Cities: Skylines (3%), and Two Point Campus (2%)
My Steam Year in Review 2023.

For better or worse, gaming has been my primary hobby for the last several years. Playing games helps me cope with depression and anxiety by giving me a temporary escape from an increasingly alienating and frightening world.

Computer gaming is hardly new to me. As a high school student in the mid-80s, I played cartridge-based games like “Cosmic Cruncher” (a Pac-Man variant) on the family VIC-20, which we soon upgraded to the far more capable Commodore 64. I also painstakingly typed in BASIC games printed in computer magazines, one line at a time. When I had fixed enough of my own typos to make these playable, I was rewarded with primitive, blocky graphics.

Games have come a long way since then, to say the least. But despite having more than adequate hardware (Mac Studio, Nintendo Switch, and iPad Mini) to play graphics-rich games, my current favorites feature simple 2D visual styles. I prefer these indie titles not for reasons of nostalgia, but because of the rich gameplay possibilities. Not to mention the prices; the games I play most often retail for $10-$25 (for the desktop computer versions), and are frequently on sale.

So it was no surprise that the top three of my most-played Steam games of 2023 are all indie titles: Terraria, Stardew

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Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Queer agender trans male. Black vegan atheist, pacifist. Pronouns: they/them/their. funcrunch.org, patreon.com/funcrunch