Undertale – the game promoted as the friendly RPG where nobody has to die. It was developed over the course of roughly two-and-a-half years almost entirely by a single person: one Toby Fox. Mr. Fox already had an internet presence orchestrating music for Homestuck, a webcomic known for its complex plot and large following, but this was to be his first original creation.
The project saw its release in 2015 whereupon it received universal, widespread acclaim from numerous publications. This sentiment wasn’t limited to critics either; so profound was its resonance with the community surrounding the medium that, mere months later, its members voted it the best of all time on a certain site famous for providing walkthroughs on almost every game imaginable. A coalition of video game fans banding together to deem such a new title a superior effort to all that came before is an extraordinary display. It begs the question: what is it about this game that caused those who played it to declare it the best of the best?
Originally released on Steam in 2013, Papers, Please is an indie game created by a sole developer: Lucas Pope. Mr. Pope was formally a developer for Naughty Dog, the company behind many famous game series such as Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, and Uncharted. He left the company shortly after working on the Uncharted series to become an independent developer. As an expatriate residing in Japan, Mr. Pope went through the immigration process, describing it as tense. He then later thought to himself that a fun game could be made from his experiences. I can certainly attest to his claims of the process being tense myself, but is it something that could really be made into a game?
Originally released as a Source engine mod in 2011, The Stanley Parable is a game with a novel concept behind its narrative. It was conceived by Davey Wreden and the game seeks to deconstruct the very nature of gameplay and choice in video games. After catching the attention of a player named William Pugh, who had experience designing content in the Source engine, he helped design an HD version of the game. This new version includes more story and dialogue while making it a standalone game. The HD version was released in 2013 and is currently available on Steam, the game distribution service owned by the people who created the Source engine.