Hexceed is a free-to-play game on Steam that is essentially Minesweeper but only with hexagons (the game is free-to-play in the sense that the base game is free, but additional monthly DLC that adds new puzzles and new mechanics is available at a reasonable price).
This currently has a “Very Positive” rating on Steam, and I’m pretty much a sucker for any Minesweeper variant.
CyberCode Online is a text-based MMORPG (essentially a MUD) with one of the most beautiful (and functional) interfaces I’ve ever seen in a text-based game. Emulating a code editor for a cyberpunk-themed game is a stroke of genius.
Rogue Janitor is a browser-based game where you are tasked with cleaning up a dungeon after the adventurers and monsters have had their day.
By day, your monstrous colleagues protect treasure and beat up adventurers, but by night, every tile of it must be scrubbed by your expert hands. Or as much of it as you have patience for; it’s actually a pretty chill job.
People have never played more video games and many stakeholders are worried that this activity might be bad for players. So far, research has not had adequate data to test whether these worries are justified and if policymakers should act to regulate video game play time. We attempt to provide much-needed evidence with adequate data. Whereas previous research had to rely on self-reported play behaviour, we collaborated with two games companies, Electronic Arts and Nintendo of America, to obtain players’ actual play behaviour. We surveyed players of Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and Animal Crossing: New Horizons for their well-being, motivations, and need satisfaction during play and merged their responses with telemetry data (i.e., logged game play). Contrary to many fears that excessive game time will lead to addiction and poor mental health, we found a small positive relation between game play and well-being. Need satisfaction and motivations during play did not interact with game time but were instead independently related to well-being. Our results advance the field in two important ways. First, we show that collaborations with industry partners can be done to high academic standards in an ethical and transparent fashion. Second, we deliver much-needed evidence to policymakers on the link between play and mental health.