Now Playing

The book recommends a minicanon of 12 games for any course and a full canon of over 200 games that any developer or game academic should be familiar with. Those are largely games that have stood the test of time, and the merits of each are explained in detail in the text.

This page lists a simple selection of recent games for most platforms that we recommend because of their exceptional design in mechanics, content, technology--and in the best cases, all three! This is what we're playing.

The "Now" Canon
These are the new exceptional games that developers and academics are discussing right now. If you want to stay current, you should be playing them too. You might not like these games personally, but you'll probably acknowledge that they're important. This doesn't replace the all-time canon. These are the games that you should play once you've covered the original canon.

  • Portal 2 on PC
  • Bastion on PC or Xbox360
  • Risk: Legacy board game
  • Troyes board game
  • Skyrim on PC
  • Minecraft on PC
  • Battlefield 3 on PC
  • Batman Arkham City on Xbox 360
  • Uncharted 3 on PS3
  • JetPack Joyride on iOS
  • Infinity Blade 2 on iOS
  • Scribblenauts Remix on iOS
  • Super Mario 3DS
  • StarWars the old Republic on PC
There are other games like Angry Birds and FarmVille that are big casual hits. I think that they succeeded for important reasons (marketing, right place/right time, "going viral") but not ones that are particularly interesting to game developers.

Catherine [M]
Shatter [E]
Heavy Rain [M]
Red Dead Redemption [M]
The Beatles: Rock Band [E]
Little Big Planet [E]
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves [T]
Dead Space [M]
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots [M]
Lego Star Wars the Complete Saga [E]
Catherine [M]
Bastion [E10+]
Limbo [T]
Guitar Hero V [E]
Leave Home
Splosion Man [E10+]
Braid [E]
Team Fortress 2 [M]
BioShock [M]
Risk: Legacy
Star Trek: Fleet Captains
Space Alert
Carcassonne w/ Traders & Builders
Bastion [E10+]
Portal [T]
Portal 2 [T]
Alien Swarm
Blur [E10]
Just Cause 2 [M]
Left 4 Dead 2 [M]
Team Fortress 2 [M]
World of Warcraft [T]
Grand Theft Auto IV [M]
Bastion [E10+
Quake Live
Mirror's Edge 2D (branded Mr. Fancypants)
Fantastic Contraption
Portal: The Flash Version
Bow Street Runner
Line Rider
Dominion & expansions
Space Hulk: Death Angel
Lost Cities
Infinite Space [T]
Scribblenauts [E]
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars [M]
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow [T]
Civilization Revolution [E]
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground [T]
Advance Wars: Dual Strike [E] (not Days of Ruin)
Super Mario Galaxy [E]
Okami [T] (Wii, not PS2)
Mario Kart Wii [E]
The Ur-Quan Masters (Star Control II)
Metroid Zero Mission [7+] (GBA)
Jet Grind Radio [T] (Dreamcast or GBA, not Xbox)
Doom I & II [M] (PC and XBLA)
God of War I & II [M]
Guitar Hero World Tour [T]
iOS (iPad, iPhone, ...)
HeroAcademy [9+]
W.E.L.D.E.R. [4+]
Osmosis [4+]
Space Invaders Infinity Gene [4+]
World of Goo [4+]
Super Stickman Golf [4+]
Dungeon Raid [9+]
Current [4+]
Orbital [4+]
Helsing's Fire [4+]
Space Station: Frontier HD [4+]
Civilization Revolution [12+]
Touchgrind HD
Cogs HD
Small Children
Chicken Cha Cha Cha [4+]
The Kids of Carcassonne [4+]