Itch.io has made a bundle of games, assets, and other goodies that, well, nothing like it has ever really existed before. Crucially, it’s going to a real and necessary cause, pushing for a radical reimagining of the police in America. All proceeds are split between the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the ActBlue community bail fund. At the time of publication the bundle has raised over $5,000,000.
This bundle gets bigger as I write, which means creating a list of the best games in it is a bit of a difficult task. As such, I won’t be going through all 750+ video games, TTRPGs, developer toolkits, physical games, and, uh, novels. Instead, I’ll be choosing some of my personal favorites from what I’ve been able to dig through so far. I’ll also use this list as an opportunity to shoutout a bunch of smaller games I haven’t had the chance to dig into but seem really fuckin’ cool.
THE BIG ONES
Night In The Woods – Night in the Woods is a really good game about the kind of place I live in, it is also a really messy exploration of mental illness and trauma. What I’m saying is, I have a lot of emotions about this video game. Play it!
Tonight We Riot – A GAME ABOUT AN ANTICAPITALIST REVOLUTION. YEAH! A GAME OF OUR TIMES MADE BY A BUNCH OF COOL COMMUNISTS. Be a little dude who leads a bunch of other little dudes towards glorious revolution.
Quadrilateral Cowboy – You should play every game by Blendo Games right now but if you have to pick one, pick Quadrilateral Cowboy, one of the coolest games about hacking ever made. In it you plan heists by hand writing elaborate programs to open doors, disable cameras and lasers, and to alter the world around you before going in and executing your plan alongside your program. It whips.
Celeste – Celeste is one of the best platformers ever made with one of the best soundtracks ever made. Play the video game.
GAMES THAT LOOK REALLY COOL AND FUN THAT I HAVEN’T HAD THE CHANCE TO PLAY ENOUGH OF BUT THE PITCHES ON THESE ARE SO GOOD THAT THEY EARNED A PLACE IN THIS LIST
Beacon – This is a roguelike about genetically engineering your clones to become increasingly fucked up biological murder machines. That’s video games, baybee! It also feels pretty good to play so, no reason not to try this one.
Long Gone Days – I think a game about defying the immoral and inhumane orders of your superior officers and instead choosing to pursue the much longer and more difficult route of building a better and more equitable future is a great pick for this particular bundle.
Gladiabots – Fun fact about me, I almost pursued an education in robotics because I was primarily an engineering student throughout High School before I was attacked by a Gay Poetry Vampire. This game all about programming robots to murder each other makes that long forgotten part of my brain feel VERY GOOD.
The King’s Bird – momentum based movement with good shapes and colors makes my brain go brrrrrrrrrrr.
GAY SHIT THAT I LIKE (OR THINK THAT I WILL LIKE)
Extreme Meatpunks Forver – This is a visual novel/brawler all about being gay and murdering fascists. If that isn’t the kind of media we need right now, I don’t know what is.
Serre – Cute girl falls in love with alien! Cute girl falls in love with alien! Cute girl falls in love with alien!
A New Life – This is a game about a relationship falling apart and the question of whether or not it should be put back together. The lesbian yearning is REAL in this one folks, which is to say it will definitely make me cry.
HOUR LONG NARRATIVE GAMES THAT I THINK ARE COOL
A Mortician’s Tale – This hour-long game about working in the death industry is, big shocker, pretty sad! It is also a deeply hopeful exploration of how we engage with death as a culture. I like it a lot.
Sagebrush – Sagebrush is all about exploring a cult compound following the mass suicide of its members. It is a bummer but it is also deeply empathetic towards the people it features, which can be rare for cult-based media. Also, its aesthetic is very strong.
The Space Between – I haven’t actually played The Space Between yet, but I did watch a really good YouTube video about it a few years ago and it kinda does own.
TTRPGs THAT YOU NEED TO PLAY
Lancer – I LOVE MECHS. SOMEONE LET ME WRITE ABOUT MECHS AGAIN. WHERE ARE THE MECH VIDEO GAMES? WHERE DID THEY GO. FUCKIN LOVE THESE BIG ROBOTS. LANCER IS A SUPER CRUNCHY TTRPG ABOUT BIG ROBOTS.
Blades in the Dark – Forged in the Dark games have become their own genre for a good reason. Blades in the Dark is all about being a dashing hero — or villain — managing the incredible stress such a life can put you under. You can also be a ghost, which, personally, I am a huge fan of.
TTRPGs THAT SEEM COOL BUT I CANNOT VOUCH FOR THEIR ACTUAL QUALITY BECAUSE IT IS DIFFICULT TO FIND A GROUP SOMETIMES
Black Heart – This Carly Rae Jepsen themed RPG about summoning old gods in a village seems like it will make an incredibly fun one-shot I can experience with my friends and coworkers. Also, the accompanying Spotify playlist has Julien Baker in it, which means this playlist is Bait For me.
BALIKBAYAN: RETURNING HOME – This is the kinda cyberpunk I’m looking for, folks. Don’t give me an edgy white hacker with a customizable schlong, give me a Magically Enhanced Lesbian Whose Cybernetic Powers Are So Great That She Has Become Unto a God.