9) Papers, Please
Seeing as how my laptop runs on steam power and a couple of hamsters on a wheel, my experience with computer exclusives is lacking. Luckily, one of this year’s finest titles is minimalist enough to work on construction paper while still telling a more compelling story than most of its peers. Although it sounds boring in concept, Papers, Please is an utterly fantastic game that uses a simple idea to allow players to live out their own stories.
Standing in as one of Arstotzka’s immigration officers, you are tasked with deciding whether or not to allow immigrants into the nation. The catch is that you are faced with fines, bombings, or the death of one of your family members if you make a bad decision. If you take a bribe you can feed your family for a day, but your neighbors will report your sudden wealth and put you in deeper trouble. Let someone through with an obviously fake passport so they can see their family, and the fine you face might mean living in the cold for another night, potentially making your family sick.
There are predetermined stories told through the course of Papers, Please, but the most memorable are those in which you have a personal stake. A paperwork simulator has no right to be this compelling, but once you start playing, you’ll have an incredibly difficult time trying to stop.