My early generosity has been worn away by Subdivision’s relentlessly bland mission design. I am torn between my dislike of each mission’s flavorless grind and the small respite brought on by each taking less than 10-minutes to complete. It’s the video game campaign equivalent to a dinner of plain rice cakes: all fluff, no substance, but at least the exercise is over as quick as it began.

Prey hasn’t been able to pick and choose its points of inspiration. While the games it lifts from are mechanically engaging, their thematic tensions have not held up as well, leaving Prey an inconsistent jumble of competing philosophies and narrative styles as it tries to recontextualize plot points which in hindsight were not as clever as we made them out to be.

With Tacoma, it begins to feel like this optimism might be getting in the way of the message that actually needs to be heard. Unions and activists groups can change the world, it is not just a matter of working together that is needed for these systems to change. To borrow from father Marx, “there are no happy endings under capitalism.”

Part of me felt I should enjoy The Witness, that solving it would be its own reward, or that I could not truly say I disliked it until I had unraveled it thoroughly. These are all ridiculous justifications for playing a game I knew early on I disliked. It is such a strong compulsion within the videogame community to compel yourself forward with critically acclaimed games that even your own opinion stops mattering as much for whether you play a game or not. It isn’t about what you think, or what other people think, it’s what you think other people will think.

Rise never reconciles where the line between archeology and blatant theft actually lies. Between her many firefights, Lara spends most of her time picking through garbage, opening chests, and murdering endangered species, all in the name of exploration. But as is always the case with colonialism, what Lara is after is not really answers or the objects themselves, it’s money for a new gun upgrade and a bigger bag for furs.

What A Normal Lost Phone also demonstrates, apart from its messy handling of LGBTQ themes, is how banal most text messages are. Games such as Gone Home work because the diary entries used to tell its story are at once convincing and engaging to read. As we transition into digital forms of communication, however, the ease at which information is shared causes each individual message to become less and less significant.