What makes a game something everyone recommends to you?
With gamescom in full swing, we’ve seen a lot of demos, trailers, cinematics, and previews, running the gamut from the new AAA behemoth games like Starfield and Diablo 4, all the way through charming high-concept indies we’d never heard of before. Throughout it, we’ve been chatting with each other, both here on the site and in our fabulous Discord, occasionally saying this one is totally “an Anna Game,” or that one is a Liz Game — games we instantly recognize as catering directly to each others’ interests and gaming preferences. So I got to thinking about what makes that determination: What makes something a Me Game? And what would other people say is a Me Game?
Some of us have specific, tailored preferences. An indie shown at gamescom called These Doomed Isles caught my eye as a Red Game, because he really enjoys Dorfromantik, a chill hybrid puzzle and strategic building game, and These Doomed Isles is similar, but with the bonus addition of cards, something Red is also known to enjoy. Meanwhile, Mitch is pretty well known for enjoying anything with a taste of the eldritch, so anytime I see that vibe, regardless of any other information, in my mind it’s already a Mitch Game, from Cult of the Lamb, to Graveyard Keeper, to friend of the site whether we like it or not, N’Zoth from World of Warcraft. We all have that one friend who’s obsessed with strategic city builders with tech trees a la Civilization, or the friend who just cannot resist a boomer shooter where she gets to murder waves of zombies with a shotgun. I even have a friend who, Yogg bless him, loves platformers and music, so as soon as I saw Symphonia yesterday I sent him a DM, because it’s a game specifically tailored to him — even if I’d rather slam my hand in a car door than pick it up myself.
I feel like the parameters of an Anna Game are tricky to nail down. I play a variety of game genres, from shooters, to survival, to sims, to strategy. Novel eye-catching art is a common theme to games I grab instantly, and anything that promises a high-concept narrative tends to be a favorite. On the other hand, I usually love games with lots of mayhem, like the Mystery Heroes mode of Overwatch 2, or 7 Days to Die — though it’s rather rare that somebody recommends zombies or gore as being a “Me” thing. I also tend to be drawn to games with a liminal space vibe, which is present in most survival games, or a current favorite, Cloud Gardens. Also, almost any time there are cute animals I’m there, regardless of whether gameplay has me befriend them like Among Trees, or kill them as a food source, like The Long Dark — and yes, I realize that’s a little messed up.
So, what makes a game a You Game? Is there a particular ambiance, game element, or genre you can’t pass up? Does that differ from the things other people associate with being a You Game? Are you watching gamescom in order to find more offerings to add to your Steam backlog? Also, have you seen any good Anna Games lately? Asking for, well, me.
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