recommend video games for me

I spend too much of my free time getting pissed off at the news, watching stupid YouTube videos, and drinking. I need another hobby.

I’ve decided I need to take up gaming.

I haven’t done any gaming in years. I understand that video games have evolved a helluva lot since the days of Doom. (Seriously, do people still call them “video games”, even? I’m like Rip Van Winkle here.)

I’m a middle aged dude. I like puzzles and mysteries (I’m a cybersecurity guy by profession). Playing with other humans would be nice, but a single-player game is OK too.

I don’t think I’m looking for a first-person shooter, at least not of the kind I used to play. My reaction time, spatial reasoning, and fine motor skills, never that great to begin with, are absolute shit now. A game where I have to do a lot of combat is probably not for me. I don’t mind having to off someone now and again; I just don’t want to have to rush through halls blasting monsters left and right.

I’ve also read that some video games have really high quality writing, and the players get to be involved in an engrossing drama. I think I’d like that.

I guess ideally I’m looking for a game where I can play detective, have time to ponder pieces of a puzzle, and get wrapped up in the drama. Maybe bust a cap in a guy’s ass if it’s really called for.

Or maybe that’s not what I’m looking for. Hell, I don’t know. You tell me!

I can do PC, Linux, or Android. I don’t have an iOS device.

Lay it on me.

Are you familiar with a lil game called Portal?

I haven’t played it but L.A. Noire is a detective game with not as much hair-trigger combat requirements.

I really liked the walking sims Firewatch and What Remains of Edith Finch.

The Witness is great if you’re into pure puzzling with minimal storylines. The Talos Principle is much more dialogue heavy but again has great puzzles.

Maybe The Council? It’s an adventure game with investigation mechanics where you spec into different skills, so it’s designed to not be possible to find every clue in one play-through. It’s also delightfully crazy, which makes it really interesting to see where the plot is going to go next.

You need to stop what you’re doing right now and get yourself Return of the Obra Dinn. It’s the best detective game that’s ever been made, bar none. No combat, very little exploration - it’s just you, logic, context and visual clues against a fiendishly clever mystery.

I’ll also second *LA Noire *- good game, the combat segments are a bit shitty but tend to be short at least and the story & characters are really interesting.

Portal requires fairly good reaction speed to finish. I gave up once it got to a point where you needed to do several things in quick succession.

ETA: Steam sale starts tomorrow, so you might want to wait for that to buy games.

Eh, I’d say Portal might be worth trying. This middle-aged gamer managed just fine, and I never excelled at platformer/puzzle games. Very few games have taught you how to play as you go along as well as Portal 1 and 2 did. I’d bet if you returned to the game you’d be surprised at how easily you pass the bits that troubled you earlier (I often found that a good night’s sleep was all it took to turn an impossible room into an easy one).

The sheer excellence of the Portal games makes them worth checking out, even if that genre is not typically in your wheelhouse.

Definitely check out the Steam sale. Tons of games should be up for sale, and somewhat older games can often be had for a song (and a couple bucks). Check out for lists of awesome games that might interest you.

re. writing: “80 Days” supposedly has 750000 words of content. It’s fun to play through a few times and visit different cities. “Heaven’s Vault” by the same studio is more of an exploration game; you’re an “archaeologist” (Indiana-Jones style, anyway) rather than a Sherlock Holmesian detective.

Wow, some cool sounding games being suggested. From the descriptions and a little reading, I think the ones I’m leaning toward so far are “Obra Dinn”, “LA Noire”, and “Firewatch”. I think I’d prefer something with limited sci-fi or supernatural elements. I’m not totally opposed to finding aliens or whatever, but all other things being equal, I’d generally prefer to keep things closer to a real world setting.

Obra Dinn looks super clever, and the rush of monochrome nostalgia alone would be worth the time and money. LA Noire looks closest to what I had in mind, and the visuals look awesome. Firewatch just sounds like a really cool setting, and from what I’ve read, the way the relationship between the player and the boss evolves is handled well.

So, let’s hear more suggestions along those lines.

Thanks to all!

FWIW, I found LA Noire really tedious. The central mechanic–look at a witness’s face and use facial cues to figure out if they’re lying–was damn near impossible for me. Add to that that I was playing it on a PC, and the port from console wasn’t great, and I quit after a couple of hours.

Portal, on the other hand, is one of the best games ever made. It’s way into the science fiction, but if you can get past that, it’s hilarious, and the puzzles are all brilliant and fair.

If you are into cyber security, you want to play micro corruption.

With your background in cybersecurity and the fact that you like puzzles, take a look at Invisible Inc, which is like a turn-based puzzle game. You have a group of hackers who are on the run and need to figure out who set you up by breaking into corporations’ databases. The art style is unique and there are many tactical decisions along the way.

Well, bad news there - Obra Dinn’s story does involve supernatural elements. I would, however, say that it’s a case of realistic or history-grounded supernatural. Without spoiling too much, I can say the game revolves around finding out how the crew of a regular, historical East Indiaman and its perfectly normal crew reacts to a series of decidedly irregular circumstances.

As well the simple premise of the game is not exactly real world : as part of your assignment on the part of the EIC insurance claim bureau ; you’re given a stopwatch that can, if used on a dead body, show you the exact moment that person died, frozen in time. The whole game is then about exploring those static visions to gather clues, details, make inferences based on what people seem to be doing or where they were at the time Joe Sailor got crushed to death while innocently taking a massive shit off the prow (not making that one up), that kind of thing.
I still say this is a game you shouldn’t miss out on, and probably on of the if not the best game of the past 5 years.
LA Noire for its part is purely, sometimes painstakingly historical (they went out of their way to recreate 1950s Los Angeles, complete with monuments and some inspired-by-true-events investigations)

This, absolutely this.

Portal and Portal 2 are right up there with the best of the best.

If you were swinging for a console I’d recommend a Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild. A game so good it is worth buying the console to play it on.

Since that isn’t your bag I’d have a look and see if you can a copy of “lemmings” on the PC. A 30 year-old game but still one of the very, very best.

What about the X-Com games?

It’s been ages since I’ve played, but IIRC it’s a shooting game that’s really a puzzle game. You can only move your characters within certain frames (think chess) and you’re trying to kill the aliens. It’s a puzzle game because you need to figure out the best placement for your soldiers to both kill the enemy, but not be exposed to getting killed yourself. There is no real combat other than clicking a “shoot this guy” button.

Here is a Youtube video of someone playing.

I’ve not played Xcom but I have played Mario and Rabbids on the Switch, also “into the breach” which works on the same mechanics as Xcom and they are great fun.

*X-com *being very sci-fi, which you said you didn’t want, how about the slightly more obscure Phantom Doctrine ? It’s pretty much “X-Com, but instead it’s the Cold War”. Your guys are KGB, Mossad, CIA agents you recruit and train, investigating a worldwide conspiracy/deep terrorist cell.

Of note, it’s less shooty-bang-bang focused than the* X-com *series ; because as soon as you’ve alerted the bad guys they’ll send infinite waves of reinforcements your way - which is par for the course when you’re a team of spies operating covertly behind enemy lines. So instead there’s a big focus on infiltration, reconnaissance, sneaking about watching where the guards are and planning before you go loud (or better yet, arranging things so as to not have to go loud at all and accomplish your missions without anybody the wiser) because once that first gunshot rings out you’re on a timer. You will not survive a protracted firefight. Get what you came for, call for extraction and run. Have an exit plan from the get go. Have a couple more in case shit unexpectedly goes sideways (it will).

I wouldn’t really describe X-Com as a puzzle game. It’s a tactics game, and figuring out best placement for your soldiers is part of that, but it’s not a situation where there’s a fixed solution or best path to get through a level, which is what “puzzle game” implies to me.

The supernatural element as you’ve described it there sounds OK. And I see the magic stopwatch thing, but I can live with some unobtainium stuff to move the game along. I think I just don’t want things like “You’re a space smuggler racing poltergeists for the magic orb” kind of stuff.

That does look fun. Thanks!

I took a quick look at that just now and it bears further reading. I’ll look closer when I get a bit of time this afternoon.

Thanks to all!

Some of my favorite games:

FTL --You’re captain of a small starship, fleeing from the bad guys, delivering secret plans to the good guys. Along the way you face dozens of encounters and small adventures, and lots of starship combat. The combat is real-time, but you can pause, and is much more like a Star Trek episode than Star Wars – i.e. you give the order to fire your weapons, direct power to the shields or engines, try to escape, etc. With certain modifications you can even board enemy vessels! I think it’s a blast, and the closest a game has ever come to being the captain of the Enterprise.

Total War strategy games – a mix of turn based strategy and real-time tactical battles. I’ve played most of the historical ones – Rome 1 and 2, Medieval 1 and 2, and a couple of others. The Rome ones are my favorite. You can play as a faction of ancient Rome, Greece, the Gauls, or various other empires/factions of the ancient (or medieval) world. With conquest or intrigue, try and enlarge your empire.

The Professor Layton games are being re-released on Android and are well worth the time. Puzzle games, very fun stories.

There are three, including a brand new one that was designed for mobile phones.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

Layton Mystery Journey - the newest one and probably one of my favorites.