Relevant To Your Interests: Games That Made Me Drool This Year

Okay, so most of y’all know that I’m a tabletop gamer in my heart. But that doesn’t mean I’m not into video games at all! I’m not as knowledgable as some about the world of digital interactive storytelling, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a high appreciation for it. Games are games are games are… fun! 2015 has been a great year for games of all sorts, what with the advent of Critical Role and the release of… well, why don’t I just make a list? Here are a bunch of games, video and tabletop. Some of them I’ve played, some of them I want to play super duper badly. What they all have in common is that they elicited a “hnnnnngggg” noise from me and they were all released, re-released, popularized or attempted in 2015. Basically, they’re 2015 in some fashion. These are in the order they pop into my head—the order means nothing.

Fallout 4

I have never played a Fallout game before. But damn, do I want to play Fallout 4. This is based solely on the fact that my primary motivation in video games is item collection and there’s a dog companion that follows you around and doesn’t die. Oh, and the fact that every gamer I know has gone underground and has not yet surfaced because they’re busy playing Fallout 4. Want.

Of course, y’all know that, though I’ve resurrected my N64 from my golden age of gaming, I don’t have a modern console. So as I save up, what do y’all recommend? PS4 or XBOX One?

Buy Fallout 4 for $60 and become a digital hoarder.

Exploding Kittens


Now this I have played and its great fun. Created and illustrated by the same fella who does The Oatmeal, Exploding Kittens is a draw-one-play-one card game where you try not to have kittens explode on you. If you cannot defuse your kitten, you lose. There are lasers. Sometimes goats.

Buy Exploding Kittens for $20 and may you live to purr another day.

Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D


Y’all know how I feel about Link and friends. The fact that my only handheld is my Gameboy Color (you effing bet I resurrected it) isn’t dissuading me; I super want to play the re-release of Majora’s Mask for the 3DS that came out this year. Never mind I can’t beat it without help on the Nintendo 64. Never mind that I never have any time ever already and the addition of a handheld and this game will significantly decrease said free time to never ever ever ever. The game still made me go “hnnnggggg” and therefore it’s on this list.

Buy Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D for $40 and relive (or re-beat) the past.

Go Extinct!


This set-collection card game based off Go Fish was created by a Straddler, Ariel Marcy! It’s getting popular this year, and STEM-inspired nerd game for children and adults alike makes my heart go pitter-patter.

Buy Go Extinct! for $20 and support Straddlers doing awesome stuff.

Ori and The Blind Forest

I suppose this is one plus in the XBOX One column — I want to lick the art in this. That’s why it’s on here. Shiny graphics! Hnnnggggg.

Buy Ori and the Blind Forest for $20 and cry, probably.

Dead of Winter

Okay, okay, technically it was released last year. But this year, Dead of Winter was featured on Table Top (which I watch as though it were a religious compulsion). It’s a zombie-themed cooperative game, meaning all the players fight to survive the hordes of zombies the game throws at them, and they do it all together. Maybe. Each game sports the possibility of containing a traitor, so it might also be a game about lying for one lucky mischief maker. I love games about lying. I think I would love a game that may or may not be about lying even more. Hnnnngggg.

Buy Dead of Winter for $44 and BRAAAAIIIINNNNSSSS.


Okay, this one I have played. I actually have a ton of complex thoughts and feelings about Undertale that I’ve been struggling to put down into an essay about gaming and the subversion of violent masculinity. Until the day comes when I have that essay ready for someone to read, I can’t recommend this game enough. You’re plunged into a netherworld populated with monsters, and whether you choose to fight them or take a more diplomatic tactic will follow you. So what do you do? Kill? Or befriend? And that’s all I’ll say about that because I don’t want to give it away.

Buy Undertale for $10 and have fun while deconstructing violent expectations.

Mage Knight


Okay, my Dungeon Master (not the dirty kind) got this game for his girlfriend this Christmas, and when I was the only one who showed up for a D&D session, we three played this game. It is FACEMELTINGLY complicated. Like seriously. It took us an hour just to figure out how to start playing. It wasn’t my favorite at the time, but I woke up the next morning itching to play again. The reason it’s on this list is because 2015 saw the third expansion released! Huzzah for all of us who enjoy a facemeltingly complicated game now and again.

Buy Mage Knight for $90 and get the shit kicked out of you by orcs.

Cones of Dunshire


THIS IS NOT FOR PURCHASE AND I’M SO SAD. HOW COULD WE LET THIS FAIL? I’m already sobbing over the finale of Parks and Recreation this year, and now I don’t have Cones of Dunshire?? What even, world, what even.

So tell me — what games made you “hnnnngggg” this year?

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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


  1. I’ve heard conflicting reports about how inclusive “Fallout 4” is, but I do know that “Fallout: New Vegas” is very inclusive. You can pick your sexuality (there are perks that allow you, as a woman, to flirt with other women), and there is one gay, one lesbian, and one female bisexual companion.

    • I’ve found fo4 to be great, as you can romance all companions regardless of whether your character is male or female.

    • Fallout 4 is very inclusive beyond the first fifteen minutes. You start off the game married, but then the world as you knew it ends. Everything beyond that point is up to you, as you can be monogamous or polyamorous, straight or queer. Unlike Dragon Age there are no romance conflicts.
      However you can’t romance the noir detective robot and some people are very upset about that.

  2. Thanks Ali! My brother always gets me brilliant games for Xmas…and now I will defeat him with EXPLODING KITTENZZZ

  3. My friend recommended Dead of Winter to me, so I bought it… It’s basically one of two games I can play all the time (the other one being Battlestar Galactica). But I have to say that it is pretty hard to win (unless, you’re the traitor. Then it’s pretty easy)

    • Fun fact: I give no fucks whatsoever about winning. I say this with honesty; I’m just really excited when I get to play.

  4. Life is Strange owned my life this past year. Coming out in episodes made me that much more obsessed plus the fact that you could replay the game with different outcomes. The ending was a little meh but the characters and game play made it all worth it!

    • Felicia Day streamed her playthrough of Life of Strange (archived on youtube) and I watched all of them. So good.

    • I feel like there was definitely a “good” ending to Life is Strange because it was just a lot more fleshed out. That left me feeling dissatisfied about the choices I’d made because it was as if the development team was making a value judgment on my choices. If you made the “right” choice, you got an ending that we really well done (regardless of the actual outcome) and if you made the “wrong” choice, there was very little development of the result of your choices.

  5. I want a 2DS so baaaaaaad, Girls Mode 3 (aka Style Savvy 3) is somewhere on the horizon. Also, for Ocarina of Time and Animal Crossing and a million other games…

    • I just started AC: New Leaf a couple of days ago! I’d never played an Animal Crossing game and I was hesitant to take the plunge ’cause the screenshots showing the characters just made it seem too… twee for me. But I figured the rest of the world was probably right. When my character got off the train I hated how she looked though (a SKIRT in WINTER?) but a pair of camo pants, a white button-up and some aviators later, she’s looking alright. She’s in some serious debt though.

      That Style Savvy is funny. I haven’t played it, but I like the dudes on reddit who swear by it even though a 12 year old girl would probably be too embarrassed to have it in their collection.

  6. If you love item collection or building shit then Fallout 4 is definitely your game. I’m always jealous of the massive settlements I’ve seen people post on YT and Reddit. Just when I think I’ve made something halfway decent for my people to live in I get on the internet and see that somebody has built a hotel or a massive fort and I’m like “How the fuck did you do that?”.

  7. I finally picked up a 3DS XL a few months ago. It’s my first handheld since the GBC too. Once I picked up ORAS and MK7 I swore my next game would be a Zelda game, since I’ve never played a Zelda title, and somehow after several sales and an ebay lot I’m ~10 games later and haven’t gotten a copy. Such backlog. I’d probably start with A Link Between Worlds, though.

  8. Life is Strange is amazing and everyone should play it. Other games I dug this year: Until Dawn, The Unfinished Swan, Neko Atsume (Kitty Collector), Alphabear, and Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack.

    … and I would be remiss if I didn’t plug the game I work on, Guild Wars 2. We just released an expansion this year, Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns. =)

  9. My wife and I just had the Xbox vs PS4 debate as well and here are a few reaps we went with Xbox One. Backwards compatibility: we can still play 360 games on the new console; not with PS4. Most games now are digital or have a digital component so you’ll need a space to store all of them. The xboxone you can get the cheaper 500gb hard drive and then add an external hard drive (up to whatever size you want, it just has to be usb 3.0 and more than 256 gigs I think)

  10. Exploding kittens looks hilarious (obviously only because there are no real exploding kittens). I must have this!

  11. save up for a PC! That way you’ll be able to install mods for Fallout 4 and it’s easier to upgrade your hardware.

  12. I got a PS4 mainly because I have more friends that play it so can game with them. Also after getting a XBox 360 instead of a PS3 last time round I ended up being jealous of the PlayStation only releases more than the other way round. So I will miss not being able to play the new Tomb Raider but at least now I can play the Last of Us.

  13. Ugh I HATED Exploding Kittens. Once you get past amusing artwork from The Oatmeal it’s just a very simple, mechanically boring card game.

    I played this at a game night with friends of varying level of inebriation. It was easy to learn since the rules and mechanics are only a step above that of Candyland. There’s very little you can do to affect your fate, so it’s largely going around in a circle drawing cards until you die, sighing with relief as you float off one by one to get new drinks in the kitchen while expressing hope that the game will end soon. By the time it was over everyone in the group looked bored or unhappy, and it hasn’t been played since.

  14. Ori and the Blind Forest is amazing. Not only is the artwork beautiful, but the story and the music are as well. Be prepared, though: the first 10 minutes will give you approximately All The Feels.

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